Filipinos hoop it with everyone

A fresh adult competition for local
basketball gets going this weekend. Previously geared towards Cayman’s Filipino
community, all residents will have a chance to hoop it up.

Sunday 26 September sees the start
of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association division three men’s league. The
basketball association court off Eastern Avenue will host the action. The
competition has been held the last few years under the name of the Filipino
Basketball League.

Technical Director for basketball
in the Cayman Islands Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro is supportive of the league and
states it can help the sport grow.

“It will only make things go well
for local basketball and help enhance the game,” O’Garro said. “Over the years
basketball has improved tremendously. Leagues such as this along with the
various smaller competitions, once they are organised and structured properly,
can only help the sport. I’m all for it.”

News of the league comes after the
national men’s league wrapped up in August at the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall at
the University College of the Cayman Islands. The PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Under-16 league, with female players Tenesa Richards and Andrea Jackson,
finished in late June. In addition there are plans to start the annual Appleby
Under-19 league in October.

O’Garro states the timing of the
division three competition fits in well as it does not clash with the major
events.

“It all depends on the length of
the leagues. It comes down to timing and it never clashes with the other
leagues. For example the men’s league starts in March and ends in August while
this league runs now until early next year. Most of the players you see play in
this league treat it as recreational. They go out to have fun and it’s not a distraction
to the national league. In fact the Filipinos normally take a team to play in
the men’s league consisting of their best 12 players from the division three
competition.”

This year’s men’s league saw a
Filipino club take part called team Philippines. Armed with a number of
talented players like Marc Jocson and Ding Briones, team Philippines finished
sixth with a 3-11 record.

Interestingly O’Garro, who is
originally from Trinidad but has been in Cayman for over a decade and has
Cayman status, points out that basketball is a major interest in the
Philippines.

“Filipinos are very knowledgeable
players because basketball is part of their national school curriculum for both
boys and girls. A lot of people don’t know that basketball is the national
sport of the Philippines. Everyone plays hoops there so it’s easy when they
come here to want to form teams.

“Most of the players we see in the
division three competition are not physically fit so they play for the fun and
love of it. They use it for recreation while we in Cayman use it as both recreation
and a means for a better lifestyle, for example through education or as a
profession. It’s two different levels of thinking in the sport with Filipinos
and Caymanians but we both have basketball as part of the culture.”

* The deadline to register a
division three team is Wednesday 22 September and interested persons should
call 925-9056 or 916-2062 or 926-3595.

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