Brgy. Batong Malake holds Inter-Purok Basketball League

by Roi Louis F. Mojado and Jahn Patrice M. Rington

Sun’s out, ball out!

Brgy. Batong Malake, Los Banos started its month-long Inter-Purok Basketball League last March 28 at the Batong Malake Covered Court.

With the leadership of the barangay’s Sports Committee Head Jomer Eusebio, representatives from the eight puroks in the barangay participated for this year’s basketball league.

Tinuloy namin siya dahil nga ang habol ng mga kabataan dito sa barangay ay basketball (We continued the event since the youth here in the barangay really likes basketball)”,  Coun. Eusebio explained.

This Year’s Inter-Purok

For the past years, only players until age 25 can join the summer league. Now, players from 26 years old and above participated in the basketball game. Along with the newly introduced categories – senior and super senior – there were a total of five categories for participants this year and they were grouped according to their age brackets:

  • Mini, for children aged 13 and below;
  • Midget, for children aged 14-17;
  • Junior, for aged 18-25;
  • Senior, for adults aged 25-37; and
  • Super senior, for aged 38 and above.

All players attended the screening weeks before the start of the league. During those screenings, the participants were asked to show the requirements (birth certificate and proof of barangay residency; senior and super senior category players game fee of P1000). The said screenings were held by Eusebio and Rene Elayda, the barangay’s Sports Coordinator.

The championship game and the awarding of the winners under the mini, midget, and junior category were held last April 19. The winners for this year’s league were:

  • Purok 3 – Bangkal, Mini category;
  • Purok 2 – El Danda and Sipit, Midget category; and
  • Purok 2 – El Danda and Sipit, Junior category.

The winners received medals and trophies.

Meanwhile, the games for the Senior and Super senior categories opened last Sunday, April 26.

On the same note, the barangay have already selected the players who will be representing Batong Malake in the upcoming Inter-Barangay Basketball League of the municipality this August. The Sports Committee have selected Mini and Midget players from each of the eight puroks of the barangay.

According to Ref. Ocampo, coach of the team, their preparations for the Inter-Baragay League started right after the selection of players. The team practices twice a week every Saturdays and Wednesdays at the barangay covered court.

Kids ruling the court

Nowadays, children can start playing competitive basketball at the early age of six. Last March 30 at 9:00 am, the teams of Purok IV-A (Team Umali) and Purok V (Team Clebelmore) in the Mini category played their first game. Children between six and 13 years old, despite the small physique, were smoothly able to manage the game. They dribbled the ball effortlessly across the very wide court and shot the ball through the high hoop.

SMALL BUT TERRIBLE. A player from Purok V dribbles the ball away from his opponents despite his height.

Ang liliit nila, pero ang gagaling (They are all little, yet so great)” 11-year-old Abi Macatangay expressed her amazement while rooting for Purok IV-A.

Parents and children cheered and yelled for the sons throughout the one-hour game. Most of the mothers held up their phones and tried to snap a picture of their sons while in the game.

Go anak!” A mother shouted at the top of her voice as she cheered for her son who was aiming for a 3-point shot. The crowd enjoyed the game of the little players.

An answer to physical inactivity

Coun. Eusebio headed the event because he also wanted to encourage the youth to see the importance of engaging in sports. “Para na rin siguro mahikayat sila na magkaroon ng active lifestyle (It was also to encourage them to have an active lifestyle)” Coun. Eusebio said.

According to a study conducted by the Food and Nutrition Institute of the Department of Science and Technology in 2008, 86% of the Filipino youth aged 11-18 years old are physically inactive and this contributes to the risks of having cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity among children.

Health experts suggest that a child should be physically active for at least an hour per day. One of the best ways to help children become physically active is by enco uraging them to engage in sports such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

Referee Jonjon Ocampo, one of the facilitators of the basketball tournament, explained that events like this could help in keeping children away from unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.

Sa nakikita ko kasi, ‘yung mga bata sa panahon ngayon ay nahihilig sa computer, sa mga gadgets, at pagtambay. So para maging active sila, physically fit at bilang exercise na rin nila, maganda na sumali sila sa mga ganitong events (As I see, children nowadays are becoming attached to computers, gadgets, and laziness. So as an exercise and opportunity for them to be active and physically fit, it is good for them to participate in such events)”,  Ref. Ocampo said.

More than just a game

Aside from encouraging children to be physically active, basketball tournaments can also hone a child’s values of teamwork and sportsmanship.

Kumbaga kahit papaano, bukod sa pagbuo ng friendship, magkaroon rin sila ng konsepto ng teamwork, mabuo ‘yung samahan na sila ‘yung magkakakampi, at yung pagiging sport (In a way somehow, aside from building friendship, they can also acquire the concept of teamwork, form a union of co-members, and become a sport)” Ref. Ocampo explained.

SUPPORTIVE AND PROUD. Mrs. Babes Jimenez takes a picture of his son while in the game.

Babes Jimenez, mother of a player from the Purok V team, is delighted because of the league. She said that events like this are really of great help when it comes to encouraging children to be active in sports at a very young age. For her, it also serves as an opportunity for children to learn the values of cooperation and discipline.

Ang sport kasi talaga ng anak ko ay futsal, pero inencourage ko na rin siyang sumali dito since ibang discipline din naman kapag sa basketball. Para habang bata, maencourage na rin silang mag-engage sa sports (My son’s sport is futsal, but I also encouraged him to join here since it is a different discipline with basketball. So as a child, they can already be encouraged to engage in sports) Mrs. Jimenez added.

Aside from letting her son explore and improve his skills in basketball, Mrs. Jimenez also said that she encouraged her son to participate in the event to have new friends.

Usually kasi ang kaniyang mga friends ay nasa school lang din, so dito sa basketball ng barangay marami siyang magiging bagong kaibigan (His friends are mostly just from school, so in this event, he can meet more new friends)”, Mrs. Jimenez said.

According to Coun. Eusebio it is likewise possible for the barangay to conduct a sports event for the young girls. “Pwede naman ‘yan magawan ng paraan. Sa katunayan, gusto ko nga sanang makipag-tie up sa mga samahan sa UPLB para magconduct ng sports event na mas maraming kabataan ang pwedeng kasali (We can make way for that to happen. In fact, I was thinking of tying up with groups in UPLB to conduct a sports event where more youth can participate)”, Coun. Eusebio said

Summer sports league without the SK

Coun. Eusebio said that organizing the sports activities of the barangay is not easy because he also has other responsibilities as a barangay councilor. The money used for this year’s league expenses is from the SK’s budget for sports.

Coun. Eusebio, with the help of Mr. Elayda, the referees, and table officials, handled the managing of papers on the league’s program of work, allotting the budget, and buying of equipment and other things needed in the said summer league. He also talked to referees Jon Jon Ocampo, Jojo Basquez, Marlon Antonio, and Alvin Montecillo. They are the referees who already coached the summer league participants for years.

Inter-Purok Back Then

Before the SK was put on hold, they were the ones who organized the inter-purok and other sports activities in Batong Malake. Their sports activities back then include different events for basketball, volleyball, and chess. These were usually held during the summer, when students are on vacation.

Batong Malake’s SK chairperson from 2010 to 2013, Debbielyn Mirabelles said the SK council plan the events and then have these approved by the barangay council.

Kung napagplanuhan na, kailangang ma-approve muna ang budget at program of work. Pagkatapos, paghahandaan na ang liga at magpapa-meeting para sa mga coach at sa ibang tao na involved sa activities (After planning, the budget and program of work have to be approved first. Then, we get ready for the league and hold meetings for the coach and other persons involved in the activities)”, said Mirabelles

“Mga dalawang buwan bago ang liga ay napaghahandaan na namin ang liga (About two months before the league, we are already planning the event)”, she added.

Better With or Without SK?

Jojo Basquez, a referee in the summer league for more than a decade now, said that the management of SK regarding the basketball league and other sports activities differs a lot from the management now. He said the one managed by the SK was relatively more organized.

Ref. Ocampo said he thinks it was more organized then when it was the SK who organizes these events. “Siyempre kasi nakatutok sila sa kanilang goal na magpalaro sa mga bata. Ang mga konsehal kasi may mga trabaho ding iba sila at kumbaga nagiging singit na lang ito (They are focused on their goal to involve the youth in such games. The councilors, though, have other tasks so this sometimes becomes minor)”, he added.

For the past years, the eight puroks have complete representatives per team. Yet this year, some of them had additional tryouts to complete their roster.

Other hitches for the organizers include gathering the participants to attend the screenings. It was, however, resolved by encouraging the residents, especially those from Purok 8 – Jamboree, to join so they have their representatives.

SK reform faults

The SK of 2013 was the last batch of leaders before its postponement. There will officially be no SK elections yet to replace them this year after Pres. Benigno Aquino III signed the Republic Act 10656 , or “An Act Postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to the Last Monday of October 2016” on March 25, 2015.

SK is the venue for young Filipinos to be trained as leaders. It was institutionalized under the Local Government Code of the Philippines (RA 7160) passed in 1991. It is composed of a chairperson, seven members, a secretary and treasurer who serve for a three-year term.

The youth council is formed to share resolutions necessary to carry out the objectives of the youth in the barangay; to initiate programs designed to enhance the social, political, economic, cultural, spiritual a physical development of the members; and to conduct fund-raising activities.

However, it has faced a lot of issues as an institution: corruption, nepotism, ‘hakot’ system, vote buying, and focusing only on sports and pageantry programs.

Sports activities and programs are still important events of the barangay. However, there have been reports that sports activities become the major sources of corruption in the SK. To address this, one of the SK reforms being considered include broadening community involvement not just in sports and youth development but also in education, employment, entrepreneurship and health.

According to RA 10656, SK elections will be moved to the last Monday of October 2016, synchronized with the next barangay elections.

Batong Malake’s sports initiatives while SK is on hold

Even without the youth council to manage the barangay’s sports activities, Coun. Eusebio still made plans on engaging the residents of all ages, not only the youth, to participate in the games. These events will help the Batong Malake youth to develop friendships, sportsmanship, and healthy camaraderie among the participants.

Coun. Eusebio admitted that the preparation for this year’s event was in a rush because of the absence of SK. For now, he is hoping for a successful execution of the event.