CEBU CITY: Two Malaysian basketball teams are here in Cebu to play against local teams in a mini tournament billed as Cebu Friendship Invitational Basketball Cup.
The Sarawak Eagles from Borneo and the Sarawak Eagles U-17 teams are pitted against their Cebu counterparts in two different venues.
These are the Don Bosco Technology Center-Cebu gym in barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City and in Bogo City in northern Cebu upon the invitation of Bogo City Mayor Carlo Martinez.
The Sarawak Eagles who are seeing action in the Men’s Open division, will clash head-on against the Bogo City cagers Friday night at the Don Celestino Martinez gym in Bogo City.
On the other hand, the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) runner-up University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors will take on the SG/ARQ in a separate venue at the Cebu City Sports Institute Gym here in downtown Cebu City.
Their younger counterpart, the Sarawak Eagles U17 squad, will open their hostilities against the powerhouse and CESAFI juniors champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles at the Don Bosco Technology Center-Cebu gym in the 6-day friendly tournament.
The coming of the Malaysian teams to Cebu was made possible by sports patron Lorenzo “Chao” Sy who who helped Mayor Martinez in organizing the tournament.
The Sarawak Eagles, one of the few basketball teams in Malaysia which is better known for football and badminton than basketball, will be mentored by Cebuano champion coach Britt Reroma, the former San Beda Red Cubs coach in the NCAAA and won a CESAFI title with the USC Warriors last year in his first and only tenure as head coach by making history by ending a 57-year title drought by the Warriors.
In a press conference at the Hotel Fortuna owned by the Sy family, Reroma said he is bringing here the Malaysian teams for two reasons— to teach them the Philippine system of basketball and to be better prepared physically.
He said that when it comes to basketball, Malaysia is really far behind the Philippines as the former is only No. 5 in Southeast Asia.
Sy and Martinez welcomed the visit to Cebu of the Malaysians because it will also benefit the idle and aging former basketball players in Cebu who are still very capable of playing.
Also participating in this tournament are the Don Bosco Technology Center Greywolves and the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters under the U17 division while the teams in the Men’s Open are the Warriors, Bogo City and SG/ARQ.