NABA Champions - Winnipeg teams win at North American tournament

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Ladies and Masters Divisions both won first place at the North American Basketball Association’s (NABA) 22nd annual tournament at Downsview Park's Hoop Dome in Toronto during the Labour Day long weekend, from September 4 - 6, 2009. This year’s tournament had a total of 103 teams from Tykes to Masters Division.

The NABA teams of Winnipeg represented their city well with a delegation of seven teams in the Tykes, Bantam, Ladies, Seniors and Masters divisions, and two teams in the Junior Division.

There were 12 teams in the Tykes division (9 & 10 years of age). The Winnipeg Tykes team, led by coaches Ruel Maranan and John Aaron, did a fabulous job of mentoring the kids and leading them to third place overall. They played against Brampton, Mississauga and York, which they defeated, taking them into semi finals against Toronto Falcons. The Tykes did a great job but it was not quite enough to overtake this strong team. The Tykes’ first loss took them to the second set of semi’s against Scarborough, which had the Winnipeg players running hard and trying their best, but their second loss landed them in third place. Toronto Falcons kept the gold next to Scarborough in second place in the Tykes division.

Winnipeg’s Bantam division fought hard and strong to the end against 13 other teams. They finished Saturday undefeated against York and Montreal. The next morning was an early start. North York defeated our Bantams, which led them to fight harder for the gold. They played five more games to take fourth place overall after suffering a defeat against Jersey Shore.

Junior 1 & 2
Wilfred Edic and Peter Cruz, did their best to lead their Junior 1 team to the championship but with such great competition, they were defeated by Scarborough in the fight for a spot in the quarter finals. On the other hand, the Junior 2 team, coached by Neil Blanca and Ralphe Backe, made it to the semi’s with a few bumps, bruises and sprains. They, too, tried their best, taking home third place among15 teams. These junior teams did Winnipeg proud.

There were only five teams in the Ladies Division but they were five very strong teams. The WInnipeg ladies beat off North York and Staten Island to get into the semi-finals. Brampton gave them a hard time, defeating them in the semi-finals, but this did not stop them from trying harder to get back on the board for the finals. They conquered North York again, only to meet up with Brampton again in finals. The ladies received an injection of confidence from the loud cheers of Winnipeg parents. It was enough for them to win it all, taking home first place in their division. Liane Lanzar was crowned MVP; Sheila Fauni best forward; and Cheryll Parañaque best guard.

The Seniors Division was tougher than expected with several strong teams of NABA veterans. Our Seniors were knocked out early, but they still enjoyed their battles and they later cheered on the other teams.

The Winnipeg Masters team went undefeated, battling six other teams to take home the gold. These veterans did a great job beating every team they came up against on the court. Coming home bruised and limping was well worth the championship win. Ranilo Lagura was chosen MVP; Sani Valera, Best Forward; and Eddie Exconde, Best Guard.

The Winnipeg Teams are all looking forward to the 23rd NABA Tournament next year in New Jersey during the 2010 Labour Day long weekend.

Click to see more photos from NABA 2009

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