By Lou Tabanao
What is a regular basketball tournament in Edmonton?
You pay $150 tournament fee and play for 7-8 games and maybe up to 10 games if your team reaches the finals. Games are officiated or managed by EBOA referees and tournament officials. It is played by division or category and any teams can submit any lineup of players. A player comes, plays and goes home every game schedule which are normally held in school gyms or recreation centres.
On February 27, the Pinasaya Basketball Association (PBA) opens a different kind of tournament, an alternative model, run by volunteers from table crew to refereeing including tournament administration.
The 1st PBA season is composed of four teams: Coyotes, Legends, Hotshots and Hornets. Four games (or 2 games per team) are played every Sunday 6:30-10:00AM at the McCauley school gym. The tournament is just entering the 2nd round with the Legends leading the standing 6-1.
As Commissioner Froilan Fabella would always remind the group why we are vastly different than the other leagues. He happily enumerates the following reasons to anyone who might ask: 1. 5in-5out which ensures each player plays a minimum of 15 minute per game, 2. Balanced teams where we distribute equally the MVP-caliber, young legs and top players to give each team a championship chance, 3. 30+ games that span for 6 months or more including best-of-three playoffs and finals, and one special Sunday for 3pt, skills master and 3on3 contests.
People may ask how you can afford 30+ games, he proudly claims it is because we work like a true association where efforts and dividends are shared among shareholders, and we even regularly report our cash flow to be transparent to everyone.
On April 3, we are entering Round 3 and games are still competitive with the Legends expected to still lead while the Hornets, Hotshots and Coyotes fight it our for 2nd and 3rd place and avoid the Legends in the playoffs.
The originals of the group (OGs) will also agree that since doing this kind of tournament, more players are socially engaged with regular potlucks almost every other Sunday.
I think everyone would agree that for $80 fee with 30+ games and the chance to strengthen the core volunteerism values is the best tournament in Edmonton for Pinoys.
In a sense, PBA is impacting humanity thru this alternative model of basketball tournament where we are not just after winning but more on how to be a better person that will impact our families and communities, of course, the exercise is a de facto aim.