The Bisdak Fighters basketball team on Sunday clinched their third championship after a nail-biting final game of a winter basketball league for Philippine migrant workers held in Taipei by the Taiwan chapter of the Confederation of Ilocano Association, Inc, Samahang Ilocano (CIASI), a Philippine organization that helps compatriots working overseas.
The Fighters also won the 2018 Phil. New Taipei Basketball League in April 2019 and the 2019 CIASI Taiwan Summer Basketball League in August of that year.
The Bisdak Fighters, named after an expression that refers to a native of the Cebuano-speaking areas of Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines, defeated Wuku Hollywood Sports Bar 114-101.
Both teams moved the ball with lightning pace as players landed buckets from inside and beyond the arc.
Wuku Hollywood led 80-76 at halftime, but the Fighters bounced back to tie it at 86-86 with just under seven minutes remaining.
Stepping up their speed with fast breaks and accurate shooting, the Fighters found their mark and edged ahead to win the game and claim the title.
Fighters power forward Louie Mark Anthony Bayeta led all scorers with 23 points and was named Most Valuable Player.
Bayeta, who hails from the province of Agusan del Norte in the Philippines and works in Taichung, said the Fighters beat Wuku Hollywood because they made better use of their speed and defended well.
“Our opponents are bigger than us, so the key to win was speed and putting trust into each teammate,” Bayeta said.
The 2020 CIASI Taipei Winter Basketball League featured 16 men’s teams that played on Sundays from Nov. 15 last year to Sunday on the outdoor basketball courts behind Taipei’s Minglun High School.
Rheden Delumen, chairman of CIASI’s Taiwan chapter, which has 14 sub-chapters with more than 1,200 members, said that the teams were made up of members of the Philippine migrant worker community, and aimed to promote unity, sportsmanship and respect.
Arnold Kanoy, head of the CIASI Taiwan chapter disciplinary action committee and commissioner of the basketball tournament, said in addition to helping to alleviate the workers’ homesickness, the event also raised funds to be donated to people in need in the Philippines.
“Working abroad and being away from our families will make you feel homesick, that’s why I’m encouraging [players] to participate in this kind of event, but not only in basketball, but also in other sports. It will not only entertain you, remove stress and homesickness, but you are also playing for a cause,” Kanoy said.
The Taiwan chapter of CIASI raised more than NT$28,000 to buy relief supplies for people affected by Typhoon Vamco in November last year, after torrential rain pounded Cagayan and Isabela provinces.
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