A winter basketball tournament for 16 Filipino teams yesterday started in Taoyuan, with hundreds gathering at a community center for the opening.
In the ceremony of the Confederation of Ilocano Association, Samahang Ilocano’s (CIASI) Nankan Linkou Winter Basketball League, more than 300 Filipinos who comprised the teams marched past the stands to be judged on best uniform and muse.
The Lian-Hwa team, made up entirely of workers from Lian Hwa Foods in Taoyuan, won best uniform, with their eye-catching red, white and blue jerseys.
The design of their jerseys was inspired by this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend uniform, which includes a tribute to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January, Lian-Hwa captain Jayson Manipon said.
The jersey features an image of the shooting guard dribbling a ball, Manipon said.
“In basketball, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are our idols, and they will forever be legends who inspire us,” the 34-year-old player said.
The Linkou Spartans won the Best Muse trophy, which was accepted by the team’s muse Barbie Fronda, a 26-year-old Filipina factory worker from New Taipei City.
In Filipino basketball culture, muses are women who whip up support for their teams at tournament openings.
The tournament, which did not hold any official games yesterday due to unfavorable weather, is expected to run for two to three months, with 56 games in the preliminaries before playoffs begin.
The league has raised NT$10,000 to buy stationery supplies for elementary schools in the Philippines, said Aristotle De la Cruz, president of CIASI Taiwan’s Nankan subchapter, which organized the competition.
The money, raised from tournament registration fees and a three-point shootout competition on the opening day, would go to elementary schools attended by players on the Guishan Tan-Star team.
The team, made up of players from the Philippine province of Bohol, earned the right to choose the schools after winning a raffle.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Justin Cueto of the Quanta Ballers team, named after the Taoyuan-based Quanta Computer, won the three-point shootout contest, sinking seven out of 15 shots, among 50 contestants.
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