The hype and excitement that had imbued the players for months was finally unleashed at the opening ceremonies of the 3rd Season of North-Bangkok Filipino Basketball League (NFBL) on Sunday, September 13, at Prachaniwet Sports Center in Prachachuen, Bangkok.
Hundreds of players and basketball fans alongside with VIP guests from Philippine Embassy and other community leaders witnessed the grand kickoff. Mr. Nel Amurao from the embassy’s Assistance to Nationals Department (ATN) and Mr. Efren Villianueva, President of the Association of Filipinos in Thailand (AFT) graced the opening ceremonies.
Amurao in his welcome address reiterated the embassy’s support to NFBL and other related activities. He went on reminding the players to keep the spirit of sportsmanship and to avoid any contention during the games. The official also congratulated the organizers for coming up with the idea and commended them for uniting the Filipinos in Thailand through sports.
Dr. Ismael Naypa, a native of Mindanao and Director of International Department of the Yanhee International Hospital, is the owner, founder and the brains behind NFBL. A towering figure among the Filipino community, Naypa’s love of sports has made the league possible.
Other game officials who would serve for the whole season include Mr. Harrison Sucuaje and Harvey Intanto as League Director and Head Referee respectively. They are both basketball veterans who had led numerous successful leagues in the Philippines and in Thailand. Sucuaje also served as a basketball commissioner at the recently concluded Adventist Youth Association (AYA) Sports Fellowship in Central Bangkok, while Infanto is the only Filipino in the Thailand Basketball Referees Association roster of professional referees.
Yanhee Choir also performed at the opening. Players and audience were carried away by their soulful renditions including the Philippine National Anthem. The program was hosted by Mr. Karlo Diel who is also from Yanhee. On the other hand, Sucuaje read the rules and regulations of the league while Christian Ritual facilitated the oath of sportsmanship.
The three-month league will run from September 13 to November 8, 2015 with eight teams to compete. The teams which are mostly consist of comebackers from seasons 1 and 2 include Pastilan, Saturday Boyz, World Travel Hound Slashers, Bangyai Knights, Dos Ekis, Yanhee Amigos, AFT, and Salakang Gilas Thailand.
Games followed after the opening ceremonies.
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