SWU Cobras win hearts of Bukidnon hoop fans
(The Freeman) - December 11, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — They may have faltered in their title quest in the 1st Kibawe Mayor’s Cup Open Basketball Tournament last December 4-8 but the Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Cobras felt like they are champions still for winning the hearts of hoop fans in Bukidnon.

The Cobras bowed to the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors in the final match last Sunday but relished the wealth of experience they gained out of competing against a platoon of commercial players from the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) during their highly productive stint in Kibawe - the birthplace of Filipino sports hero Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

“About our game, we achieved our objective of giving more exposure to our bench players while continuously establish the team’s ball movement,” said SWU-Phinma coach Mike Reyes, who piloted the Cobras to their first Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) crown in five years after they dethroned three-time defending champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers last month.

More than showcasing their hoop skills that thrilled the spectators to the bones, the other thing of beauty for the Cobras is that they managed to squeeze time out of their heavy workload to hold a basketball clinic for the young aspiring cagers in Kibawe’s neighboring town of Maramag under the leadership of mayor Atty. Jose Joel Pepito Doromal as part of their community outreach project.

“The clinic was an eye opener for the players in terms of realizing how lucky they are being part of the SWU team. I was awed by the enthusiasm the kids showed,” said Reyes.

Tournament organizer Van Halen Parmis, who was instrumental in bringing two of Cebu’s top collegiate teams closer to basketball fanatics in Bukidnon, was elated by the kind gesture of the Cobras.

“It has always been my advocacy to inspire the young ones, find raw talents, and help nurture them so they eventually become champion athletes one day. I am doing this because of pure passion,” said Parmis. “I know there are a lot of potentials in Mindanao that just needed to be tapped. Given the right kind of support and exposure, they are capable of excelling even in a bigger stage.”

“I am most thankful to the SWU Cobras and the UC Webmasters for sharing their skills to the young ballers in Bukidnon especially in Kibawe. It’s a once in a blue moon opportunity for them to see top caliber players seeing action before their eyes. Hopefully it could spark interest in them to pursue their dreams,” added Parmis.

Spearheaded by Kibawe Mayor Reynaldo “Jimboy Tebontu” S. Ang Rabanes, the five-day tilt was a great success largely because of teamwork.

With Kibawe as the main host and Maramag the site of basketball clinic, two other Local Government Units (LGUs) joined hands in making the event possible. The municipality Damulog of mayor Melino L. Buro served as host of the UC Webmasters, while the town of Dangcagan under mayor Fruto B. Dandasan Jr. backed up Cagayan de Oro City selection.

“Just like in the game of basketball, the Kibawe Mayor’s Cup was highly successful because the people involved worked together and personify the spirit of teamwork,” said Parmis. EBV

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