Tuesday, October 4, 2011
DC TEAM WINS FIL-AM TOURNEY, WILL HOST 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP
Washington will host next year one of the largest Filipino-American sporting events in the East Coast, organizers revealed.
“The excitement is building up. My own kids are already excited,” said Anne Tabligan of the Filipino-American Youth Basketball Association (FYBA). Washington DC sent 9 teams to last Labor Day’s North America Basketball Association (NABA) tournament in North York, Canada.
Five of the teams went on the finals and one emerged champion, according to Noel Asinero, FYBA vice president.
The United States and Canada alternate hosting the NABA tournament which drew 120 teams this year, including one from London, England. It’ll be DC’s turn next year and the FYBA is leading preparations for the big event.
“The Washington FYBA holds 2 tournaments every year, one in the Spring and another in the Fall,” Asinero explained.
The FYBA, which broke away from the Filipino-American Basketball Association (FABA) in 2007, said next year’s tournament will be doubly significant because it will mark the 25th anniversary of NABA and the FYBA’s own 5th birthday.
“It’s only our 5th year but we’ve become a powerhouse in NABA,” Asinero declared.
“We did what other cities haven’t done – emerged champions in the Open Division and runners-up in the Tykes, Peewee, Girls and Seniors Divisions, respectively,” he added.
Their campaign was aided in large part by former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) superstar Abet Guidaben who was earlier diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a rare muscle ailment that impairs speech and vision, leading to weakness and in the most serious cases, respiratory distress.
“He’s doing good; he looks great after what he’s been through,” Asinero reported, “With the help of NABA and other organizations we were able to help him out with his medical bills.”
The Detroit-based NABA is a Fil-Am organization established in 1987 to promote basketball in Canada and the US East Coast. They hold the Inter-City Tournament on the Labor Day Weekend. Players are divided into 10 age divisions as well as Open categories for Men, Women, Seniors and Masters.
Asinero explained players have to be at least 1/8th Filipino to join the tournament. Some of the Fil-Ams who join NABA eventually play with popular college teams both in the US and Philippines.
He said they are now scouting at least 4 venues in the Metro DC region. “As much as possible we want to hold all the games in just 1 venue,” he said, “but the league has grown so big that you can’t really hold it in just 1 place anymore.”
“We need at least 15 hard courts and there’s no place like that in the area. The biggest one is actually in Maryland,” Asinero added.