MORE than the glory of winning, there’s a much bigger cause for expansion team Basilan as it makes its debut in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
Rising from the ruins of a deadly war, Basilan sees its foray into pro basketball is a great way to show that there is more to the largest island province in the Sulu archipelago than what people usually see in the news.
“Malaking bagay to para sa aming mga Basilenos. In the first place, ito ang isang way na makakatulong sa amin na makapag-refine ng Basilan – to be here in the MPBL said Jul-Adnan Hataman, the LGU partner of the Basilan Steel.
“Gusto namin ipakita sa lahat na kaya namin at lumalaban din kami. At kaya namin makipagsabayan sa kanila. We are determined to be part of history. We will redefine what others think of our province. It’s one way to show the good side of the Basilan and the people living here.”
They have modest expectations of the squad featuring former pros Jojo Tangkay, Dino Daa and Dennis Daa, but are confident the mere participation will be a big boost.
“Kahit hindi na manalo, yung pagtanggap lang samin sa MPBL, malaking tulong yun. Ito yung pambura ng imahe sa amin sa Basilan. Puro nakikita sa balita, alam naman natin na laging lumalabas sa balita ang bad side ng Basilan,” he added.
Now the team is already preparing to host a few games sometime in October or November.
Officials fee the hosting is a step in the right direction in the efforts to erase the fear and stigma about the province.
“Very supportive po ang Basilenos. Asahan ng MPBL kung gaano kasupportive ang fans namin,” Hataman added.
“Sinabi ng commissioner samin, baka by this October or November. Except na bigyan kami ng isang game sa home court namin, nakapromise sa amin na bibigyan kami ng two to three home games,” he added.
Basilan started the campaign with losses to Makati and Valenzuela, but showed that they can compete and that no team can take this squad lightly.
“Pag sumali ka sa ganitong competition, mas gusto namin to be on the top. Gagawin namin ang lahat na makakaya namin. Marami pa namang games. Two games palang, pero nakikita naman kung ano yung kakayahan namin at talent ng player,” Hataman said.
May mga errors, pero ganyan talaga laro may manalo at may matalo. Tingin ko matutumbok din namin kung anong pagkakamali ng team.”