Finally, the much awaited event of the year has arrived. The 6th PL3 Group Basketball Tournament opened last Wednesday, the 1st of April, 2015 at the covered court of Barangay San Jose, Quezon, Bukidnon. Barrio folks from as young as three years old to as old as eighty nine flooded the plaza to witness the opening ceremony and watch their favorite teams play.
The Ceremonious Opening Ceremony
As in the previous seasons, the tournament opened with a ceremony headed by esteemed community leaders and PL3 himself. The program started with a prayer led by Barangay Councilor Rene Tejano and followed by a lively welcome address delivered by San Jose’s beloved Barangay Chairman, Rodrigo Lumba, who never fails to entertain the crowd by his witty punchlines.
Of course, what is an opening ceremony without a message from Mr. Pablo Lorenzo III, the person who started it all six years ago. He highlighted the changes in this year’s games to make the event more exciting and thanked everyone who continuously came to see, support and enjoy the annual tournament but most of all, he reminded everyone to just have fun and enjoy the events.
As in the previous opening ceremonies, the town’s dearly loved mayor, Gregorio Lloren Gue, came to celebrate the day with the people of San Jose. In his talk he expressed his delight in the people’s enthusiasm for the sports and encouraged everyone to continue to participate in such events.
After Mr. Norman Polinar, Operations Manager of Bukidnon Mill District Development Foundation, Inc. (BMDDFI), introduced the participating teams and Mr. Anthony Carl Salvador, Operations Coordinator of Kiantig Development Corporation (KDC), led the recitation of Oath of Sportsmanship, the Ceremonial Toss, initiated by no less the Town Mayor himself, was made. The 6th PL3 Group Basketball Tournament officially began.
Homegrown Basketball Teams
Four teams played in opening day. First game was between KDC Stallions and BMDDFI Tractors wherein the Stallions won by over 30 points against the Tractors! Pretty amazing for an opening game, especially that the Stallions haven’t played in the last two seasons (2013 and 2014 playoffs). The second game was between RMI Brahmans and ABSFI Azukals (hmm… where have heard this name before), wherein the Brahmans beat the Azukals by more than 10 points.
These teams are actually composed of employees of different organizations within the PL3 group of companies. When the 1st PL3 Basketball playoffs began in 2010, there were originally eight teams: There’s the ABSFI Azukals of Associated Bukidnon Sugarcane Farmers, Inc., of which Pablo Lorenzo III (or PL3, as he’s also known in the office) is President; the RMI Buffalo and RMI Brahmans of Rancho Montalvan Inc., of which PL3 is also President; the KDC Defenders and KDC Stallions of Kiantig Development Corporation, of which PL3 is General Manager; Strider of Strider Vantage Corp., of which PL3 is President, and there’s KISMUCO Growers and KISMUCO Harvest of Kiantig Services Multi-purpose Cooperative of the KDC employees’ cooperative.
These same teams also played in the 2nd PL3 Group Basketball Tournament in 2011. In 2012, however, employees of the Bukidnon Mill District Development Foundation, Inc., of which PL3 is Chairman, also expressed their intent to join the games, and so the KDC Defenders had to give way for the BMDDFI Tractors.
In 2013, the organizers replaced the RMI Buffalo with RMI Tappers while the KDC Stallions gave up their slot so the KDC Defenders could rejoin the games. This family of employees, however, just keeps on growing every year especially when PL3 became Chairman of Quezon Water District. And so in 2014, the QWD Leakers (yes, you got it right – Leakers) joined in the fun, taking the RMI Tappers’ place.
More Fun for Everyone
In addition to the eight teams that regularly play and vie for the champion’s trophy each year, the organizers also welcomed teams from other organizations in the community, composed of folks who can’t technically compete with the regular players but are most welcome to join in the fun. In 2012, for instance, the PL3 Executives – composed of heads of the different companies under PL3 – was formed. Employees of a local rural bank, with whom PL3’s companies happily did business with in the past several years, also formed their own team and signed up. In 2013, another team from the San Jose Barangay Council was added and this year, the Local Government Unit of Quezon as well as Del Monte Philippines Inc., added their own teams to the ever growing family of basketball enthusiasts in the lovely little barrio of San Jose.
What’s In Store For Fans This Season
When one looks at the history of the games, different teams win the trophy each year except for the KISMUCO Growers who managed to snatch the top spot twice – once in 2011, and once again last year. ABSFI Azukals consistently owned a spot in the top three in four out of five seasons and actually came out champion in 2012. Strider always earned a spot in the top 3 in the last five seasons, too. However, it’s always been the 3rd spot. They have consistently won 3rd place ever since the world began.
Will Strider finally make it to a higher notch, or will they remain nailed in third place?
Who will be MVP this year?
After two years of disappearing from the landscape, will the KDC Stallions, who championed in the first PL3 Group Basketball Tournament, regain the spot they’ve so ingeniously won five seasons ago?
These are among the many other exciting things the PL3 Group Basketball fans can look forward to this year. There was a short pause after the opening ceremony as everyone piously observed the holy week, but games will resume on April 6th. Until the championships in June, there’s definitely going to be a whole summer of fun and excitement in San Jose. And so in addition to the Blue Waters of San Jose, this summer event is another reason for coming to San Jose in the hot summer days.
A million thanks to Julius Cagaanan of Associated Bukidnon Sugarcane Farmers, Inc. (ABSFI) for the photos.