Inaugural Filipino Basketball League champions Chilsan accept the premiership trophy from LNP Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd (back left) and Gladstone Multicultural Association Inc President Cr Craig Butler. Chilsan manager and sponsor Violy Romero accepted the trophy.
Inaugural Filipino Basketball League champions Chilsan accept the premiership trophy from LNP Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd (back left) and Gladstone Multicultural Association Inc President Cr Craig Butler. Chilsan manager and sponsor Violy Romero accepted the trophy. Sam Darroch

Chilsan celebrates victory

THE members of Chilsan celebrated more than just Filipino Independence Day last Sunday when they were crowned inaugural Filipino Basketball champions at Kev Broome Stadium.

Violy Romero’s team defeated the Black Knights 2-0 in the best of three finals series and had two players, Felix Salvador and Mikel Diacmo, named in the “mythical five”, while Salvador was also awarded the league’s MVP.

Ken O’Dowd presented the trophies, donated by Gladstone Multicultural Association president Craig Butler, to the triumphant teams with Sparks (third) and Pirates (fourth) taking out the minor placings.

The eight-round, four-team tournament has been a uniting beacon for the Filipino community over the past four months and chairman of the Filipino basketball committee Benji Mercado labelled it a huge success.

“It was very good and we’ll look to continue this league in the same fashion,” he said.

Mercado is hopeful of expanding to a six team format including Biloela and Rockhampton when the next competition tips off in August, with an eye to building a more inclusive state wide tournament.

With the competition now flying under the banner of the GMAI, Australian Migration Express director and Black Knights manager Susan Watkin encouraged other ethnic groups to follow the Filipino lead on the sporting front.

“We’re trying to get other ethnic communities to get involved as well in other leagues,” she said.

Given the popularity of the league in the Filipino community, Mercado is looking for a community inclusive sporting outlet in the off-week of the fortnightly basketball calendar to accommodate the hoopsters’ wives and kids.

The Filipino All-Star team is set to challenge Mackay Meteors’ second division team next month and possibly Port City Power’s B-team at a later date.

Those interested in becoming involved with the league or starting an offshoot should contact Benji Mercado on 0432 036 022 or Susan Watkin on 0428 495 905.

Mythical Five:

Francis Paule (Black Knights)

Macky Reyes (Black Knights)

Mikel Diacmo (Chilsan)

Felix Salvador (Chilsan) MVP

Robie Ocampo (Black Knights)