Filipino expats in Dubai joined in the celebration of the UAE’s 44th National Day by holding a basketball tournament organised by JK Sports at the Jumeira Baccalaureate School on Wednesday.
Ten teams vied for supremacy in the men’s division while four teams competed in the women’s category.
In the elimination round, Dave Fortuna finished with 26 points and carried Team Bagito to a 76-69 overtime win over Hot Toreros while Richard Regalado hit six triples and registered 23 markers to lead Cailey to a 75-67 victory over Takuza.
Tibudan also converted six three-point attempts and posted 20 points in Bisaya Tanan’s 72-49 trashing of Team Sam while Dinalupihan Aklas besieged War Machine 54-47.
In the Women’s Division, Wacky Lucio scored 10 points in Panthers’ 44-22 drubbing of Hoopers while Magic spelled a 39-32 win over Vixens.
Winners in the men’s category will meet on Friday in the knockout round to battle for the AED 4,000 cash prize while the losing teams in the elimination stage will also compete on Friday among themselves for a chance to bring home AED 1,000 cash prize.
“The objective our tournament was to showcase our solidarity and gratitude to our host country (UAE),” JK Sports Chairman Roland Crisostomo told Sport3600. “Filipinos love basketball and we are grateful to the UAE for providing us an opportunity where we can find work and at the same time continue our passion for the sport.”
Bagito 76 – Dave Fortuna 26; Gherome Payrush 13; Falito Mades 12, RJ Teja 9; Nelson Travis 7; Nel Flora 4; Tarro Manio 3; Eric Peñaroyo 2
Hot Toreros 69 – Pet Nobela 17; Lester 16; Arnel Igonia 10; Watts Arabe 8; Alfie Salenga 6; Cris Balauitan 3; Fahad 3; Relano 2; Francis 2; Ron Cardona 2
The 10th Annual UAE Streetball Championship got underway on Friday with almost 80 teams entering this year’s tournament across seven categories, including Men’s Elite, Men’s Open, Men 6’ and under, Women’s Elite, Women’s Open, Boys 16-18 and Boys 14-15.
They are all competing for a total prize pool of around Dhs75,000, with the winners of the main Men’s Elite competition taking home a cool Dhs10,000.
The winners of that title will likely be X Men, Beast Squad or Bone Collectors, according to tournament organiser Ziad Al Sharabi.
Of course, of the three, X Men may be at a slight advantage as they have a former NBA player among their ranks in 27-year-old ex-Sacramento Kings small forward Donte Green.
Green was selected 28th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies before being traded to the Houston Rockets and then the Kings, where he played in a total of 253 NBA games.
Now living in the UAE and playing for Al Nasr, Green’s involvement is just another indication of the UAE Streetball Championship’s rising popularity.
“The caliber of players competing is rising and it shows that this tournament is growing rapidly. We’re going from strength to strength,” said Al Sharabi, who has been involved in running the last six versions and has seen the event grow from humble beginnings at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club.
“It’s got so much bigger every year and it’s not just the same faces, we’re getting new players showing up. It’s an event people are starting to ask us about a few months before it is held, they’re seeking us out and they can’t wait for it.”
With the UAE itself approaching only its 44th birthday, many sporting tournaments held in the country are in their infancy.
The UAE Streetball Championship, however, is very much a fixed part of the sporting calendar, and is the longest standing three on three event in the region.
What started as a tournament played on one court with two baskets has evolved into an eight-court tournament, six of which are permanent.
“The club itself was established 10 years ago and the tournament has been around ever since,” said Al Sharabi.
“It’s a very well established tournament. It doesn’t make us any money but we want to keep it going because the roots of it and the club are intertwined.”
One thing that always proves to be a crowd pleaser is the Slam Dunk Competition, which has been won for the last three years by Syrian Amer Sati.
“Amer used to play for the American University of Dubai and he was also part of a recent Nike basketball campaign, while he is a former Syrian international too,” he said.
“There are lots of new faces though this year so he could face a bit of a challenge to defend his title from some pretty big guys.”
There is also a 3 point competition, with both of these held prior to the Men’s Elite final on Saturday.
Ginebra San Miguel held their ground against Alaska Aces’ continued onslaught in the second half to forge a nail-biting 93-92 win in the PBA Philippine Cup.
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Both Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar posted big numbers, Slaughter leading all players with 27 points and 19 rebounds. Aguilar also had a double-double performance, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Ginebra led from the start but squandered a 19-point half-time advantage and even ceded the lead in the last 15 seconds after Vic Manuel made a short jumper to make it 92-91 to Alaska. But the seven-foot behemoth Slaughter proved his mettle, calmly sinking two free throws to make it 93-92 with only four seconds left and win the game.
The victory was Ginebra’s first in the current Philippine Cup, while Alaska suffered their first loss in four games.
“Alaska have always been good at coming back,” coach Tim Cone told Sport360. “Their pressure is relentless and we just held on for our lives down the stretch.”
Cone, the former Alaska coach and most accomplished in the PBA with 18 titles, added: “The team have stretches where they play beautifully, but also where they look ugly. We will smooth that out in the coming games.”
Alaska coach Alex Compton, meanwhile, was not downhearted despite defeat.
“They posted a big lead early in the game but we just kept coming,” he said. “We played hard and fought for every possession and I’m proud of the efforts of my players.”