A NEW league for high school under the guidance of Hapee Toothpaste’s Dr. Cecilio Pedro and Ever Bilena’s Dioceldo Sy was recently established to help promising junior players realize their dream of suiting up for major collegiate teams some day.
Pedro and Sy, both of whom once served as chair of the now-defunct Philippine Basketball League, believe the creation of the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championships (PSSBC) will help sustain the growth of basketball in the country.
“We have various leagues in the country, both collegiate and commercials, but the PSSBC is one noble project for our junior players. This will help toughen our junior players as they prepare to join the college ranks,” said Pedro, also an avid supporter of swimming.
That’s the primary reason why former PBL owners that also included Terry Que of Welcoat House Paints joined up with new stakeholders Jimi Lim of Ironcon Builders, Jimmy dela Cruz of Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Leoncio Chua of MEC, Rudy Yu of Dickies Underwear, and Edward Tio of Wrangler to form what they referred to as the “Champions League” for high school.
“This league will be an early preview of future superstars of Philippine basketball. This will further enhance their playing skills and polish them like diamonds,” said Sy, who owns the Blackwater Sports team that plays in the PBA D-League.
“That’s exactly the reason why we came together, we want to have an avenue for top high school players to show their stuff,” said Lim. “Since this is a much bigger stage, they will have to play as hard as they can.”
Like Que, co-owner of PBA champion team Rain or Shine, Yu, Chua, dela Cruz and Tio have been in basketball for a long time now, having been sponsors of various commercial leagues.
“In a way, this is for national interest, so we’re chipping in to help these kids reach their goal of playing for a top collegiate league,” said Que.
According to Tio and Lim, only the top teams from UAAP, NCAA, and Tiong Lian will be invited to the tournament.
If the tournament succeeds, the “Magnificent 8” plans to invite champion teams from Visayas and Mindanao to join the event.
Chua, Yu and dela Cruz are hoping they can expand the number of teams next year, saying: “The more, the merrier.”