The North Vista

PBA goes to Pangasinan

By @SiRVis

A travel journal that will give you a pleasant view of people, places, food, culture, history and events from a refreshing perspective

PHILIPPINES is a basketball-crazy nation. Filipinos are so in love with basketball that it transcends beyond the sport. It is entertainment, tourism, drama, history, business and culture. As ballers say, “Ball is life.” Years ago, I wrote an article in Vibal Foundation’s Philippine Online Chronicles about Pinoy’s love affair with basketball (http://thepoc.net/index.php/the-pinoy-and-basketball-it-must-be-love).

And yes, Pangasinan loves basketball! Pangasinan is filled with deafening chants of “Gi-ne-bra! Gi-ne-bra! Gi-ne-bra!” as the country’s most popular PBA team, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings is in town for a provincial game against the up and coming NLEX Road Warriors basketball team. Thousands of Pangasinenses lined up for tickets just to watch the PBA game.

The monumental event was organized and produced by Vijay Vasandani, President of the JCI Dagupan Bangus who intimated that it took him a year of preparation, tremendous effort, a lot of heart and great love for basketball. It does help that he was ably backed and supported by his family specially his father, well known Pangasinan philanthropist, Dr. Ashok Vasandani. Vijay was able to bring the PBA game to Pangasinan with Calasiao town as gracious host thru its mayor Joseph Arman Bauzon who saw to it that newly built Calasiao Sports Complex was refurbished to fit the Philippine Basketball Association’s standards and specifications.

The sports spectacle is a gift to Pangasinan as it brings with it fanfare and spark of tourism and economic activity in the province. It showcased Pangasinan as a sports loving and vibrant province and a venue for different sporting activities. Our governor, Amado ‘Pogi’ I. Espino, III is an ardent supporter of basketball and sports as a whole as evidenced by the province’s strong sports program which is enhanced through the newly-established Pangasinan Sports Development and Management Council.

The PBA in Pangasinan is more than just basketball. JCI Dagupan Bangus spearheaded a special outreach project with the PBA teams. They gave tsinelas or slippers to schoolchildren from Calasiao Central School. Just before the game, the NLEX Road Warriors team (owned by NLEX Corporation where my bestfriend Jack Coson works) together with the JCI Dagupan Bangus conducted a basketball clinic with selected children with one of the 25 greatest PBA player Jojo “Jolas” Lastimosa, who is now an assistant coach of NLEX as clinic coach and facilitator.

Thanks Vijay for bringing PBA to Pangasinan! What’s next? Abangan!

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