• PBA legends prove peace reigns in N. Cotabato

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    KIDAPAWAN CITY: The coming over, play and stay of former basketball stars of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) clearly indicate the province is peaceful, one of the PBA legends said Thursday.

    Kenneth Duremdes who hails from Koronadal City said the legends did not think twice when invited to play in North Cotabato which is celebrating its 100th foundation anniversary this year.

    Aside from Duremdes, the ex-PBA great who played exhibition games over the weekend with Cotabato’ Best basketball team were Alvin “The Captain” Patrimonio, Paul “Mr. Excitement” Alvarez, Jerry “Defense Minister” Codiñera, Kenneth Duremdes, Rene “Bong” Hawkins, Jr., Adonis Sta. Maria, Gerry “Mr. Cool” Esplana, Henry Fernandez, Rizaldo Realubit and Bonel “Mt. Balingit” Balingit gave fans pure entertainment.

    The legends wowed the crowd of about 9,000 who trooped to the provincial gymnasium in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City.

    While impression had it that the province is not safe, the legends proved that the place is peaceful and people loved basketball.

    After leaving the province, the legends brought along with them the impression that the province of Cotabato is as peaceful as any place in the country and its people live in harmony.

    Alvin Patrimonio, who held several PBA records including most consecutive games played and third most points scored, showed his great appreciation for the thousands of people who greeted them the moment they stepped at the provincial capitol.

    This he told thousands of spectators during the game when he was asked to give his message.

    “I felt the warm welcome of Cotabateños and I can see the harmony of the people here. Indeed, your place is not like what people in Manila perceived, and on the contrary the province is peaceful,” Patrimonio said

    Durable forward and shooting guard Kenneth Duremdes, born and grew up in Koronadal City (Marbel) told the Aksiyon Serbisyong Totoo radio program of the Provincial Government of Cotabato that the coming of the PBA legends in the province is a proof that the place is safe.

    “When we were invited for the exhibition games, we did not hesitate at all. Koronadal, where I came from, like Kidapawan and the whole province of Cotabato is safe and sound,” Duremdes said even as he thanked Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza and Vice Governor Greg “Dodong” Ipong for inviting the legends.

    The admired PBA legends, very famous even many years after their prime, will bear out their experience here in the province.

    They came and played a historical exhibition game with the best players of the province. That game was now a benchmark for the peace and order condition and the tourism in Cotabato.

    They may have lost the game, but the best players of Cotabato have shown a certain level of sportsmanship admired by the people, including the PBA legends themselves.

    This is what Gov. Mendoza and Vice Gov. Ipong would like to convey to everyone – that harmony reigns in the province and that the people altogether, are working to attain long lasting peace in the land. PNA

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