BASKETBALL in Cebu is set to get a major upgrade with two majour tournaments in the summer, and that's aside from the plethora of tournaments usually done in the summer. The two tournaments--one privately-funded, the other LGU-backed--both aim to do what no one else has done, organize a province-wide basketball tournament.

The success of the province-wide Gov. Gwen Garcia Unity Cup for volleyball should have given local organizers the idea that a province-wide tournament is feasible. If volleyball was able to do it, why not basketball, the number one sport in the province?

The Cebu Province Basketball Cup will be held in March, while an Omega Sports-backed tournament will kick off in May, that makes for two major tournaments na two months. Since the Cebu basketball community is basically an old boys club, the movers behind the two events know each other and there's no need for a pissing contest and a clash of schedules.

The CPBC had 30 initial teams in its first meeting, and in case you're wondering, there are 30 teams in the NBA, the best league to pattern any province-wide tournament. Even the Unity Cup patterened itself after the NBA, dividing the teams into clusters and holding cluster championships. Any basketball tournament can basically go all-out and adopt the NBA format, but instead of the Western and Eastern Conferences, they can have the Southern and Northern Conferences to divide the teams into logistically-friendly mini-tournaments.

And because every LGU--down to the barangay--has its own basketball court, a home-and-away tournament is doable.

So, will the two Province-wide tournaments succeed? I believe so, as long as one doesn't see the other as a competitor, vis-a-vis the PBA and MBA of the late 90s. There's no need to compete, and the real winner here is Cebu basketball. Of course, the success of both tournaments, too, depends on the participation of the LGUs. Will they see it as a chance to develop their basketball talent or will they go all out in recruiting and finding "local talent?" Some sort of a smaller version of the Fil-Sham scams that plagued our professional leagues a decade ago?

Because municipal pride is at stake, some may not take it lightly seeing their teams get masscared black and blue and resort to shortcuts. That shouldn't be the case, this is developmental basketball, not the envelopmental kind that has become the hallmark of our collegiate leagues where only rich schools can win tournaments.

The two tournaments are going to set the bar high for Cebu basketball, I hope the LGU—the mayors and the local sports heads—see it that way and take it as a chance for their own programs to bloom.

Participate, don't pirate. Develop, don't buy players.

Hometown pride may never be the same again after this summer.