Yorkton’s Philippine Basketball Association, not to be confused with the PBA in the Philippines, the second oldest professional basketball league behind the NBA, has been a blessing for Yorkton’s Filipino community.
It has given them a place to entertain themselves when not working and, more importantly, share their love of basketball with the rest of the Yorkton community.
And what a love it is. Basketball is the number one sport in the Philippines, ranking above boxing, soccer and volleyball in terms of popularity.
In fact basketball is played in the Philippines much like it would be in downtown Chicago, with street corners and empty lots littered with courts and hoops, the joyful sounds of children and adults alike echoing throughout the neighbourhoods while they play the game they love. “In the Philippines it’s huge. Filipinos are huge fans of basketball,” offered Jobet Del Rosario, the chairman/head of the board of directors for the Yorkton PBA league. “On every street corner there is always a court or hoop. There are always kids of all ages playing in leagues of three on three and four and four.
“Even the girls join in because Filipinos just really love basketball.”
That love for the game is one of the main reasons Yorkton’s PBA exists in the first place. “The reason we formed this league is because of our love of the game,” said Del Rosario. “It’s something like a pastime or hobby for us. We came here (to Canada) to join in with the work force and the community but we also want to be involved with something to entertain ourselves as well as anyone from the community who wants to come play or watch.
“We really just want to share our love of the game with the community.”
And they are doing just that. Originally formed four years ago, the PBA has expanded to include eight teams made up of players from Yorkton as well as Melville, Canora, Langenburg, Russell, Roblin, Dauphin and Preeceville.
They’ve also found a current home at Sacred Heart’s Halo Dome every Sunday afternoon, where they are in the middle of their four month season after previously playing in the Gloria Hayden Centre and Dr. Brass gymnasiums from 2010-2013.
But while the name of the league is the Philippine Basketball Association, Del Rosario stresses that it’s not just Filipino people who are eligible to play. “When we’re talking about this league, even though it’s called the PBA, we’re not only talking about the Filipino community but other cultures as well,” mentioned Del Rosario, continuing, “We have an All-Canadian team joining in made up of people from the YRHS who are in their third year in the league.
“We’re inviting everyone to come. If you love basketball we do hope you’ll come and enjoy this game with us.”
Del Rosario also mentioned that, although the current season is already underway and no new players or teams can join in, people can still send an email to him (Jsdr...@yahoo.com) if they are interested in registering a team for the winter season, assuming the Board of Directors for the PBA can strike a deal with the powers that be at Sacred Heart. “We’re thinking of having another season during the winter but we’ll see how it goes,” suggested Del Rosario, adding, “We have to speak with the principal of Sacred Heart High School to see if we could use their gym during the winter season but that is something that is in the plans so we’ll see how it goes.”