Legazpi City—University Athletic Association of the Philippines cage stars Ricci Rivero of UP and Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo University graced Sunday’s kick-off rites here of the country’s biggest basketball tournament—the Albay Second District Inter-Barangay Congressional Cup (CongCup) 2019.
The local league involves 356 basketball teams and about 7,000 players, trainers and coaches, an overwhelming participation that makes it “without doubt, the largest barangay-based basketball tournament ever in the Philippines for the 3rd straight year” now.
The participants and guests literally filled the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in this city, providing inspiration to aspiring athletes and enthusiasts.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, who originated and sustained the league, said the record-breaking participation is a “show of our unity, a show of force of our people’s kinship in sports like a positive quantum entanglement. This can only be possible with the spirit of unity among barangays and SKs, the youth and community.”
Salceda, who is running unopposed in his reelection bid, started the league in 2017 with 161 teams involving 1,930 players and some 320 coaches―already a record-breaker then―attracting a wide participation that more than doubled in three years. The games opened last Sunday with a grand parade and a ceremony.
For the past three years, 264 players have undergone intensive training with the Defenders of Faith, 2DAlbay CongCup’s resident basketball team, many of whom may look forward to a hopeful career as players, said Salceda.
Its games are played in various venues around the province’s second district. The league has four divisions: Junior―with 143 teams participating; Junior Team Bs—with 29 teams; Senior Division—with 36; and Senior Division Team Bs, with-48.
“The entire Second District truly believes in sports as a great unifying force for progress. Sports thrive on, and builds the confidence of our people,” Salceda noted. The 2D ConCup is played from February through the whole summer season.
Salceda shared that the Miss Inter-Barangay CongCup, has also created a record as the biggest beauty pageant in the country, serving as springboard for the young and beautiful to future beauty queen titles. Albay is the home province of several recent and current Filipina international beauty title holders.