The hidden story of SMS Boystown and Girlstown’s successful sports program
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Sisters of Mary School (SMS) Boystown and Girlstown in south Cebu merged the biggest recipients of the recent visit of Chooks-to-Go president and the country’s “Godfather” of 3×3 basketball Ronald Mascariñas.
This is after Mascariñas donated P1.4-million in cash and sports equipment to enable the two schools to continue their sports programs.
One of the most grateful people for Mascariñas’ charitable deed was Van Halen Parmis, SMS Boystown’s sports consultant.
Not many have known, Parmis initiated the sports program at the SMS Boystown in 2017 in Minglanilla town, south Cebu through a series of basketball clinics to celebrate his birthday.
At first, the nuns running the Boystown were hesitant to welcome outsiders in their secluded institution that houses more than 5,000 impoverished youngsters who enjoy free education, lodging, and other programs.
Parmis, who was still with the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers men’s basketball team at that time, brought in local basketball coaches from the SHS-AdC, University of Cebu (UC), University of San Carlos, and the Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC) to help him with his basketball clinics.
From a simple sports clinic to celebrate his birthday, Parmis’s program grew bigger and catered to over 3,000 students. In addition, they added more sports besides basketball after discovering potential athletes along the way.
“As one of the people who initiated the sports program in SMS, I am very thankful for Boss Ronald’s (Mascariñas) donation. I strongly believe that it will sustain and even improve the sports program there, including the SMS Girlstown,” said Parmis.
Parmis added that the funds and sports equipment donated by Mascariñas are all worth it, considering that SMS Boystown and Girlstown’s sports programs have already yielded many successful athletes throughout the years.
Besides 3×3 basketball, SMS Boystown and Girlstown’s athletes have already represented Cebu Province and won medals in various meets such as the Batang Pinoy, Milo Little Olympics, and the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CVIRAA) through the Cebu Provincial Sports Commission (CPSC).
Parmis revealed that he and Mascariñas wouldn’t have met if not for then Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) head Sonny Barrios who organized a 3×3 event in Manila in 2017.
SMS Boystown’s 3×3 squad had a successful campaign in the tournament which caught Barrios’ attention. Barrios was greatly fascinated to know more about SMS Boystown’s sports program which eventually made him decide to visit the institute.
That visit ultimately led to the hosting of an SBP 3×3 event with the help of the late Rico Navarro, the SBP regional director at that time.
Parmis revealed that Barrios introduced SMS Boystown to Mascariñas, who at that time was establishing a sports program of his own through Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas.
To cut the long story short, Mascariñas eventually visited Cebu and organized FIBA’s biggest 3×3 basketball meet with the help of local counterparts such as the CPSC and the local SBP in 2019.
In total, the 3×3 event featured 397 teams, mostly comprised of the student-athletes of the SMS Boystown and Girlstown. It also paved the way for Cebu’s first-ever hosting of the FIBA 3×3 Cebu Quest at the SM Seaside City Cebu in the same year.
For Parmis, if not for their participation in the SBP 3×3 tournament in Manila, SMS Boystown and Girlstown won’t be recognized and receive all the help it needs in its sports program.
“We flew to Manila to join the SBP 3×3 tournament without funds, without proper gear, without sponsors, but we persevered and succeeded. It was the main reason Sonny Barrios met us which eventually led him to visit Boystown. He called boss Ronald about what he discovered in Boystown which led to the 3×3 tournaments and the first Cebu Quest FIBA 3×3 event at the SM Seaside City Cebu in 2019,” said Parmis.
Recently, the SMS Boystown hosted the first SMS-Boystown Sepak Takraw Open Invitational Tournament that drew more than 20 teams from around Cebu.
It was a week after Cebu witnessed a world-class basketball event, the FIBA World Tour Cebu Masters that featured the world’s best 3×3 teams.
With all the roller coaster rides of their sports program, Parmis can’t help but remember their humble beginnings at the SMS Boystown. /rcg
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