The Filipino Basketball League opened its maiden season with a bang last January 15 at St. Mary Secondary School in Pickering. Teams from Crossover Basketball, CKATT-Robinson, NK Warriors, UNDFTD, North York and Lapsley attended the ceremony. It started with an opening prayer led by Ms. Arnie Lopez followed by the singing of the Philippines and Canadian National anthems by Sing Galing Toronto Finalist Keanna Cerezo. FBL Operations Director welcomed the teams, coaches, parents, sponsors and guest. UST Team Manager Gina Francisco Ramos was the guest of honor and provided word of encouragement to the young basketeers. Crossover Sheen Yusay led the oath of sportsmanship and FBL Commissioner Wallie Landicho declared the season open. Games and contest followed the opening ceremony with AJ from UNDFTD winning the best in free throw, Marlon from CKATT-Robinson winning the best in lay-up and Allan Robino from Crossover was the 3 PT King. Lots of giveaway items were provided to all winner courtesy of Scarborough Toyota and TFC. Crossover Sports Canada provided free pop corns to all kids who attended. The opening was hosted by Mr. Banj Ruiz. Other personalities who graced the event were Victoria Cup top honcho Philip Beloso, NABA GTA leader Roger Tarca, FBL advisers Dome Florido and Abe Oligane and Crossover Sports Canada coordinator Ms. Leslie Ruiz.
At the game opening salvo Lapsley defeated Maharlika 34-22 in the U11 Division with Anthony leading the way with 12 pts. Lapsley and Red Warriors renewed their rivalry in the U15 Division with the former overpowering their opponent 67-58 and Xavier Cortez topping the score with 17 pts. UNDFTD bested Maharlika and Crossover dominated Maharlika as well in the U10 category. Zoren Pascual led Crossover with 16 pts and AJ scored 11 pts for UNDFTD.
After the games University of Santo Tomas held a tryout for aspiring players from the GTA. Players Rob Ocampo, Evyn Santiago, Nic Malabanan, Josh Samonte, Brendon Ocampo, Andre Cruz, Angelo Sarsonas and Alvin Florido got the attention of UST Team Manager Gina Ramos.
FBL wished to thank all the parents and guest who came to support the event. They also would like to acknowledge our partners TFC (Mr. Manny Gutierrez), Millennium Financials (Ms. Elsie Altamirano), Scarborough Toyota (Mr. Manny Yanga), PNB Global Remit (Mr. Manuel Arnaldo), Philippine Career International (Judith Gonzales), Action Honda (Mr. Gani Gregorio and Mr. Rafael Nebres), Ariel Santos and Estacion Foods. Audio Spin Entertainment provided the DJ and sound system to spice the opening games and ceremony.
League games are held every Sunday 10 AM to 5 pm from January 15 to June 2017. Interested parties who may want to partner with FBL may contact Mr. Michael Cruz (4167958985) or Ms. Leslie Ruiz (4168047973). Proceeds from the partnerships will benefit Team Canada – NBTC that will again participate at the 9th SM NBTC Basketball Championships in Manila on March 2017.