I USUALLY scoff at basketball tournaments organized by politicians because these are often haphazardly organized come election time. They do these for grassroots development kuno--participants are voters--but in reality, these are just for name recall.
But the Samsam Gullas Cup is no such event. Organized by the First District representative, the second season just ended in front of a jam-packed crowd. San Fernando won it over Minglanilla in Game 3 and in Minglanilla’s own court. What makes the tournament unique, aside from the sizeable crowd it attracted, is the goal of the man behind it.
“The true success of the league doesn’t matter on who becomes champion, who becomes MVP, but on how many of these kids can be seen by schools, become under-trainees, varsity players, Team B players or reserves to get scholarships..how many kids will be picked up, that’s how I gauge the success of the league,” Gullas said after the championship.
And that is what makes the Gullas Cup a cut above.
You see, we have a lot of talented kids out there who just don’t get a chance to be discovered and tournaments like the Gullas Cup gives them that chance. Last season, Samsam said eight kids got picked up by Cebu and Manila schools and this season, more will get the opportunity.
Among those leading the list is the tournament MVP, Steve Nash Enriquez, who is only 15 but is starting to live up to his famous name. He’s now beeing wooed by UAAP schools and at 15 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him.
This is what happens if a tournament is not only organized well but has a noble goal; kids who otherwise would slip through the cracks would get their chance to earn scholarships. And it is a college degree, not a trophy, that is important. If the Gullas Cup discovers someone good enough to turn pro, then that’s just an icing on the cake.
What is important is that kids get to finish college through sports, which is what Samsam wants. It’s just the second season and I’m not sure if this will have a Season 10—though I hope it would be—but I think the fruits of the Gullas Cup will really be felt starting season 8 or 10, when these kids finish college and start working.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on December 14, 2017.
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