ASEAN Basketball League Holds Filipino Heritage Day in KL

23 February 2016—Filipino culture and basketball merged in Kuala Lumpur as the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) hosted a "Filipino Heritage Day" on the occasion of the game between the Westports Malaysia Dragons and the MX3 Pilipinas Kings on February 21 at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya was the event's guest of honor and did the ceremonial jump-ball at the start of the game.

"It is great to see the ABL reaching out to the Filipino community through this Heritage Day, as it highlights not just the Filipino's love for basketball but also our rich culture and traditions. We were informed that this is the first time the ABL has done a Heritage Day, and we hope that this can be replicated in other countries with ABL teams," he said.

The MABA Stadium was filled with members of the Filipino community members and Malaysian fans, who earlier milled around the stadium's concourse area to food booths like Merienda de Eva and Laguna Restaurant serving traditional Filipino fare and companies such as Smart Pinoy sponsoring games and prizes for the public. A musician also played around the area, which added to the festive mood.

There was a pre-event basketball game featuring a selection team from the Filipino community before the main game, which also featured performances from Filipino organizations BIBAK, St. John's Tahanang Filipino during the halftime show of the main game, and Filipinos Residing in Malaysia (FRIM) during the halftime show of the pre-event game.

Young Filipina-Malaysian singer Yazmin Aziz sung the Malaysian and Philippine National Anthems before the main game.

The Kings were bannered by two-time Philippine Basketball Association most valuable player Willie Miller and college standout Eric Salamat, while the Dragons included Fil-foreign players Jason Brickman and Matthew Wright. The Dragons beat the Kings with a score of 103-86 and gave the Dragons the top seed for the tournament heading into the semifinals.

Sponsors for the event include PLDT Malaysia/Smart Pinoy, the Filipino Businessmen and Professionals Caucus, UAE Exchange, the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia and United Architects of the Philippines. The organizing committee for the event was led by Architects Bart Vista and Ian Gerapusco. END