Lakay crowned champions of winter Filipino basketball league
Taoyuan, March 14 (CNA) The Lakay basketball team clinched the title at a winter basketball tournament in northern Taiwan for Philippine migrant workers organized by a Filipino organization that aims to promote friendship through sports.
Lakay, a team formed in 2013 and composed of mostly Filipino migrant workers of Ilocano ancestry defeated the Bulacan team 99-74 to take the championship.
The Ilocanos are one of the largest ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines and trace their origins to the provinces along the northwestern seaboard of Luzon.
Lakay has become a household name in Filipino basketball in recent years, having won numerous tournaments, including the three on three basketball tourney at the 2020 VIPT Taoyuan City Migrant Workers Sports Competition in September last year.
The Bulacan team was made up of Filipino players from the province of the same name in central Luzon.
The championship game started off at a fast pace, with both sides looking to push the ball up the court or get out on fast breaks. But neither team could build up much of a lead throughout the first half.
Down 39-36 at halftime, Lakay started to take control in the third quarter. Lakay center Jumong Corpuz used his fitness to his advantage as he began to overpower his opponents on the defensive boards.
With the ball in hand, he then repeatedly found ways to set up power forward Eugene Ponce, who led all scorers with 35 points, at the other end for quick baskets, helping Lakay build a lead.
By the fourth quarter, Bulacan's defense was breaking down and Lakay pulled away to secure the 25-point win.
Corpuz, who was named the MVP of the season, said he exercises a lot because stamina is vital to winning games.
"I do work on my endurance to last longer on the court," he told CNA.
Ponce, who was named MVP of the title game, said in addition to their success offensively, the team worked hard on defense to wear down their opponents.
The Kalinga Basketball League 2020 featured 21 men's teams with over 400 players and played games on Sundays in Taoyuan's Luchu District from Oct. 25, 2020 to March 14, 2021.
At the awards ceremony, tournament organizers, members of the Cordillera Organization in Taiwan (COT), also played gongs -- known as gangsas -- as members of the Filipino community performed a traditional dance to welcome guests and bring a festive cheer to the occasion.
The gangsa is indigenous to the cultures found in the Cordillera region of the northern Philippines.
Arnel Sagorsor, former COT vice president and current sports coordinator, said the tournament has strengthened the friendship among Filipinos and also sportsmanship among the players no matter what community they come from.
"If you came to the games, you would have seen all the teams play competitively against each other on the court and then be eager to socialize off the court after the game," he said.
Mercy Kuan, secretary general of the Federation of Filipino Communities in Taiwan (Northern) and president of the OFW Family Club in Taiwan, echoed that sentiment.
"Finally the tournament is over, but after all those months you now have friendships, because you displayed sportsmanship and cooperation. And mostly, you have now come to know more about each other," she said.
The Filipino community, which has over 150,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, often holds basketball tournaments throughout the year.
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