Winnipeg teams shine in NABA tournament
By Rizza Valera
Overall Winnipeg teams represented themselves with great pride and determination at the annual NABA tournament in Glendale Heights, Illinois, last Labour Day weekend.
Over 133 basketball teams and 17 volleyball teams from 35 cities in the USA, Canada and United Kingdom competed in the tournament.
Our NABA delegations raised money to send these players to represent our City of Winnipeg amongst eight basketball teams and three volleyball teams. Winnipeg took home three trophies and most of our teams came very close to the finals. With a double elimination rule it is tough to stay in the game but most of our teams hung on until late Sunday, getting to quarterfinals.
Mosquitoes, our new and youngest addition to NABA, were surprised to have come so far in the tournament and play four games overall.
Tykes division is always a challenge. With such great talent we have in Winnipeg, they fought hard and strong to the end coming up short after five games.
Peewee, our undefeated Winnipeg team, took it all the way to the end. It was tough but they did not give up. Their determination to keep going found themselves defeating Virginia, Glendale Heights, Markham, Toronto and Washington DC to win the championship.
Bantam and Damsels, both divisions with great skills, came up short. Bantam had it tough with 18 teams in their division and Damsels found themselves in the quarterfinals but could not get through team Chicago. Overall both teams did Winnipeg proud.
Open ladies division, consisting of young ladies 16 and older, made it to quarterfinals coming 4th, beating Washington DC and Queens, although they couldn’t get through Glendale Heights nor Toronto.
Juvenile division found themselves reliving last year’s 2013 final championship game all over again. Playing defending champs Montreal in the first game in which last year we should have sent them to the losing bracket. Our boys had it tough from the beginning but worked their way to the quarterfinals amongst 11 teams coming in 4th place at the end.
The Master team was placed in a tough bracket against champions Chicago, then veterans of PBA, New York Sipag in their second game. The players are proud that they were able to challenge themselves and play against PBA legends, like Ponky Alolor and, Manny Victorino of Great Taste, Tim Coloso and Relosa of Toyota.
NABA is not only basketball, but for three years running, volleyball has been a part of the tournament as well. Winnipeg’s Coed team have been taking this title now for three years and the Ladies took home second place this year. Volleyball NABA is growing and it is truly a survival game of skill, strategy and energy with three to five sets played in every game.
NABA Winnipeg would like to thank our sponsors, players and parents for a great summer of practices, fundraising and good times together as one big family.
Many thanks to our coaches, Mike Francisco (Mosquitoes), Ken Tugade (Tykes), Evert Pacheco (Peewee), Mike Wynne and Eric Fernandez (Bantam), Jai Mendez, Riley Velasco and Mark Gatchalian (Damsels), Tom Villanueva, Neil Blanca (Juve/Masters), Angel Brana, (Ladies), Mike Tan, and Jon Dejesus (volleyball). Without your volunteered time through the season, our teams could not have gotten as far as they did. We know it’s tough pleasing everyone and we are grateful to you all for hanging in and not leaving your teams. Thanks again!
To our sponsors, thank you, thank you, and thank you for your support. For a summary of accounts showing how your donations helped our teams, visit www.pilipino-express.com.
NABA 2015 will be held in Windsor, Ontario. For more information about NABA, visit www.nabacentral.org or call (204) 293-7678.
Rizza Valera is the executive secretary for NABA. She and her husband Sani Valera are the City directors for Winnipeg NABA.