Sinag Liga Asya basketball kicks off on July 24
League to provide an avenue for discovery of new talents
CEBU CITY, Philippines— A brand-new basketball league in town aims not just to discover talents, but to bring them to the international spotlight.
Called Sinag Liga Asya (SLA), the tournament will feature under-21 teams coming from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The people behind this brand-new cagefest were the same people who organized the Pilipinas Super League (PSL) which had a resounding success after being established two years ago.
However, this time, they are heading to a different direction as they keep their mission of providing an avenue for young unscouted talents to strut their wares on the hardcourt.
“Sabay sabay na mga liga ngayon. What sets us apart from other leagues is our personality. The people behind SLA are working hard. In our previous league, we take pride of the quality of our coverage and quality of games we bring into that league. We ensured fair games for all teams and players,” SLA chairman Rocky Chan said in a presser on Monday, July 17.
Chan was joined by SLA basketball operations head for the Visayas and Mindanao and current University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors men’s basketball team head coach Paul Joven.
Also present were the representatives of the competing teams in the upcoming tournament.
“I think, SLA speaks for itself and what also sets us apart from other leagues is that we won’t be only focusing in the Philippines, but also internationally. We’re inviting teams from all over Asia to come over to compete in pocket tournaments [that] we’re organizing after the main tournament,” added Chan.
It can be recalled that Chan served as PSL’s president since its founding in 2022. Before that, Chan also became the chief operations officer (COO) of the Pilipinas VisMin Cup.
Seven teams will compete in the Visayas and Mindanao leg of the SLA. These are Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu Heroes, DH25 Cebu City, Sherilin-Minglanilla Archangels, Eza Zanorte, Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Higalas and J-Project Tagum.
The tip off is set on July 24 at the Mandaue City Sports Complex.
AVENUE TO SHOWCASE TALENT
For Joven, the Visayas and Mindanao, particularly Cebu, lack quality tournaments that would provide an avenue for talented but unscouted players.
This is where the SLA would come in.
Joven explained that they are supplementing the region with a quality tournament where universities and even commercial and professional teams can scout and recruit talented players like what they did with the PSL.
“After the Cesafi, wala nami liga. How do you become good in basketball with that? I believe daghan players that are good in Visayas and Mindanao who aren’t given the avenue to showcase their talents. We’re supplementing it with a basketball tournament to finish even before Cesafi starts.”
“We want this on a long term scale, hopefully this will continue, and get interest in cities and private sectors in the future,” Joven added.
True to their intention, each team is allowed only to field in three varsity players and two homegrown players at a time in the court, to ensure that all players are given fair minutes on the floor.
Meanwhile, the Luzon leg of the tournament will be supervised by SLA CEO Ray Alao and president Leo Isaac.
The Luzon leg unfolds on August 5 in Tia-ong Quezon with a dozen teams and with Pampanga fielding in three teams, while the rest are from Quezon City, Antipolo, Paranaque, and Laguna.
According to Chan, the overall champion of the SLA will represent the Philippines in various international tournaments in Southeast Asia.
They will also invite teams from Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Indonesia for pocket invitational tournaments.
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