By REYNALD MAGALLON
By the players and for the players.
That’s how the founder and president of Filbasket Jai Reyes envisioned his newly formed amateur basketball league when he shared the latest development in the Philippine Sportswriter Association Online Forum yesterday.
Filbasket is a league that caters to players from the collegiate, amateur and the semi-pro ranks in hopes to build an avenue that can provide jobs for players and coaches sidelined by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Reyes, who had played in numerous local leagues and also outside the country, said that Filbasket aims to give these players the opportunity to play once more.
“Given this pandemic, there’s been a lot of players, athletes in general, who are out of jobs and are eager to get back on the court, of course to provide for their families that’s where we really started Filbasket. We wanted to help the players,” Reyes explained.
“The main advocacy of Filbasket right now in our inaugural tournament is we really want to help our athletes, coaches and the whole industry of basketball na makapagsimula naman.”
Reyes shared that they are looking to build a league that is inclusive as they hope to focus on the teams and players’ stories and talents as the driving force of the league.
“We’re envisioning something na sana we can build from the ground up na by the players and for the players something that we can depend on for the long term as athletes,” Reyes said.
Evident to that inclusivity is Filbaskets’ pioneering teams from different organizations, ranging from LGU-based and commercial basketball teams. This includes the Philippine Army which will join 10 other teams in its inaugural tournament. Filbasket hopes to bring new flavor to Philippine basketball while also assuring the development of the players and adhering to what the fans want.
“We really pride ourselves in building a league that is inclusive and we also want to make basketball the sport and the talent of the players, the stories of the players and the teams as our main product,” he stressed.
“Ito talaga yung produkto namin. We are not using basketball for other goals or plans. We will do everything na our decisions will always be for the betterment of the game, of the talent of the players and to bring to the fans the highest level of basketball entertainment.”
Among the other teams that will be joining the league are the Davao Tigers, San Juan Knights, Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors and the Basilan team. Filbasket was supposed to have a foreign team in Clearport Canada but it had to beg off due to the COVID-19 restrictions in the country .
According to Reyes, the league awaits the approval of LGUs as it tries to put up a one-month bubble tournament in Splendido in Laurel, Batangas.
Filbasket, which will be featuring top players in the semi-pro commercial division and up and coming amateur players from the collegiate and school levels, is also in talks with other leagues like the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League and the VisMin Cup to arrange their schedules and avoid conflicts.