CEBU CITY — The call for Cebu to have its own commercial basketball league continues to grow louder especially after the cancellation of the much-anticipated regional-based basketball tournament — the Country-Wide Basketball League.
Spirits were high for the inaugural staging of the competition until Friday when the tournament was cancelled as media partner ABS-CBN pulled out at the last minute.
Cebu’s top basketball coaches once again expressed their disappointment with the lack of basketball action in the Queen City of the South.
“Basketball in Cebu is dying. We need to have tournaments since sayang ang talent ng mga young players. They really have the talent but they’re not being discovered because we don’t have competitions aside from the Cesafi,” said Jun Tan, head coach of the Cebu Landmasters-Bogo City whose team was already primed and ready for battle behind former pros Reed Juntilla, Larry Rodriguez and Eric Rodrigez.
Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba, head coach of the M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Ninos, said having tournaments kept local players from having to go to Manila to try their luck.
“It’s very important to have commercial tournaments here so that the players will have more exposure and experience. There’s no need for them to go to Manila,” said Alcoseba, who also coaches Southwestern University in Cesafi.
With their opportunity to showcase their skills dashed at the moment, several Cebuano players are left waiting for their next call of duty.
“Sobrang sayang talaga since excited na ako maglaro sa CWBL. Sa Cebu pa naman sana ako maglalaro na hometown ko,” said Joseph Nalos, the former Adamson guard set to suit up for the Ninos but is now on his way back to Manila when Spin.ph got hold of him.
“Maganda talaga sana ang liga na yun kasi siyempre para ma-expose ang mga players sa Cebu. May chance sana na mapakita yung talents nila, malay natin, makita sila ng Manila teams,” Nalos added.
James Regalado, the ex-USJ-R Jaguar who recently saw action for Mighty Sports, said the CWBL provided a chance for younger players like him to showcase their skills especially with the absence of commercial leagues in Cebu.
“Maraming magagaling na manlalaro na galing sa college sa Cebu. Pagkatapos ng playing years eh magiging stagnant na yung status nila kasi walang mga commercial teams sa Cebu. Walang mapupuntahan unlike sa Manila madaming liga,” said the Dauin, Negros Oriental-native.
Mikey Cabahug, son of former PBA player Elmer “Boy” Cabahug, was also going to see action for the Flying V-Davao. But like the many who have been left hanging with the cancellation of the CWBL, he felt saddened by the lost chance to play high-level basketball.
“I've been training with the Flying V-Davao team for three weeks na. Like naporma na ang team then unfortunately, this happened. Less than a month na lang sana and everyone was really excited. Sayang lang.”
Veteran coach Jun Noel, who coached the Bacolod Slashers in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association and Hapee Toothpaste in the Philippine Basketball League before taking over at University of San Jose-Recoletos, recalled the golden years of Cebu commercial basketball.
“In the 1960s until early 2000, Cebu was famous for its highly-competitive commercial leagues which were better than Manila. Sad to say, those are no more,” Noel shared.