American friendship games hope to inspire young ballers in Cebu

Alegria Mayor Verna Magallon hoped the exhibition game that featured National Basketball Association (NBA) Development League players inspire the youth in the town.

Magallon messaged the youth to continue to play and learn from other professional players in the field of basketball and other sports as well.

“Whichever field in sports nga gusto nila, I give my full support,” assured Magallon.

The town successfully hosted of the exhibition game between the Soldiers of the Lord Team of the American Christian Missionary Group and Cebu’s University of the Visayas Green Lancers last July 4.

The local team also featured hometown idol point guard Jun Manzo who traced his roots in Alegria.

Hundreds of basketball fans—mostly the youngsters—flocked to the exhibition game held at the municipal gym. They also benefited from the basketball clinic before the game.

Magallon marked the friendship game as historic for Alegria. She said this was probably the first time that the town hosted a high level basketball game.

Soldiers Coach Lawrence Crawford, whose team routed the Lancers, said they are not after the results of the game but for their missionary expedition in Cebu.

“What is important for us is to come out and spread the gospel and let the fans enjoy it,” he said.

For the enthusiasts who aspire to play ball in college and in the professional league, Crawford advised, “Work hard, find good instructors, listen to their instructors and do the best they can.”

Aside from Alegria, the foreigners also played in Tuburan and Barili.

The invitational games were made possible by the efforts of former Philippine Basketball Association Star Al Solis who was a mentor of a church-based sports ministry in the US.

Solis coordinated with the office of Provincial Board Member Grecilda Sanchez to host the games. Former Alegria Counclor Albert Alocillo who now served as sports consultant initiated the request to include his town in the itinerary of the American basketball friendship game.