Basketball lovers were able to watch some competitive athletes last weekend during the final games of the Summer Basketball League played at the Diamond Willow Middle School basketball courts.
The area was packed with basketball fans who could be heard cheering on their favourite team blocks away.
Hosted by the Christian organization Christ’s Corridor, the series brought Filipino players from across central Alberta. The summer league gave families and friends an opportunity for fellowship and some good old-fashioned basketball.
Co-organizer Jerry Nepomuceno said the event was quite popular and they plan on bringing all the team captains together to plan for next year. He says they would like to see more players and more teams competing for future events.
As for the final game, Manila Ice — many players of whom are from Ponoka — took on the Red Deer Warriors in a no holds barred game. Both teams laid on the pressure with the score staying close to tied for most of the first half.
Manila Ice was able to keep up the pressure and capitalize on some errors by the Warriors with minutes left in the first half. This put them in an advantageous position coming into the second half.
The Warriors did not give up easily, however, and they worked to shorten the gap that Manila Ice had created. Despite the Warriors’ efforts, consistent scoring and a vigorous defense from Manila Ice ensured a strong 87-68 win against the Red Deer team.
The biggest challenge both teams and referees faced was fading light. The sun set rather quickly, which forced organizers to shorten the last quarter of play.
Organizers had a challenge this year with rain closing out some of the series’ games. Luckily Nepomuceno was able to secure an indoor court for one night to make up for lost time.
Nepomuceno said he had contacted different groups early on in the year but was unable to secure an indoor court for this summer. He hopes to host the tournament in an indoor court next year but enjoyed seeing so many families enjoy the outdoor atmosphere.