As summer gets underway, so is basketball league season but not without a reminder that this country’s number one sport could be a source of livelihood for aspiring players.
Pampanga Vice Governor Dennis Pineda exhorted youth players and professional basketball aspirants to hone their craft well not just for the sake of the sport but also for a living.
Raul L. Ignacio, SVP, NLEX Corp. Tollways Development and Engineering delivering speech. (Photo by JP Manalang)
During the opening ceremonies of the NLEX Basketball Cup at Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in City of San Fernando, Pampanga, Pineda to be good to their chosen sport, particularly basketball.
“Pagbutihin ninyo sa paglalaro. Ito ay maaaring magdadala sa inyo ng kabuhayan at nang magandang kinabukasan,” Pineda told players from 18 Pampanga towns and cities that are competing in the inter-town league.
Delta with Mike Miranda and Sanggalang. (Photo by JP Manalang)
Pineda, a known basketball aficionado and supporter, is credited for the success of Capampangan players in the Philippine Basketball Association, the leading play-for-pay professional basketball tournament in Asia.
They include Calvin Abueva of Alaska Aces, Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beermen, Michael Miranda of NLEX Road Warriors and Ian Sanggalang of Magnolia Chicken. This are among the highest paid players in the PBA.
Pineda cited the success of Miranda, a Sta. Ana, Pampanga native, who was a revelation in the recently-concluded PBA Philippine Cup. The 6-5 center used to ride the bench of former team Phoenix Fuelmasters for two years. On his third year, he was given a break by NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao, ony to deliver crucial baskets in the quarterfinals and semis. He ably filled up the slot left by power forward Enrico Villanueva who retired at the end of last season.
In a jest, Pineda said: “Etong si Mike, dati ang kinakain lang niya ay kanin na may catsup lang. Pero tingnan ninyo, sikat na rin siya ngayon.”
Delta together with Mabalacat City Cagers and City Mayor Cris Garbo before the tip-off ceremenony of NLEX Basketball Cup at Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center. ( Photo by JP Manalang)
In emphasizing the need to practice and hone up basketball skills, Pineda also cited fellow Capampangan Ian Sanggalang who also shone in the Finals series despite losing the crown to San Miguel Beermen.
“Problema rin dati king saan kukuha ng pamasahe nila. Ngayon ay iba na ang kalagayan. At iyon ay dahil pinagbuti nila ang paglalaro.” said Pineda.
The Vice Governor also thanked NLEX Corp officials who was represented by Senior Vice President Raul Ignacio for helping organize the inter-town tourney. He also cited the support of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, who is from Apalit. NLEX Corp is a subsidiary of MPTC.
For his part, Ignacio said the tournament is also aimed at fostering camaraderie, sportsmanship among players and their respective towns.
NLEX Corp is credited for its countryside sports programs that include basketball clinics in provinces found along SCTEX and NLEX tollways. Some of the players that were trained in its programs are now playing in this league that will stretch throughout the summer.