THE Cagayan de Oro Inter-Public Schools Basketball Challenge 2017, dubbed as "Foundation Conference," successfully opened last Saturday, February 4, at the West City Central School covered courts in Carmen village, Cagayan de Oro City.

The basketball tournament for public schools is a project initiated by the newly-organized Cagayan de Oro City Public Schools Basketball Association in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) through its city division in Cagayan de Oro.

It also has the support of the Samahan ng mga Basketbolista sa Pilipinas (SBP)-DepEd in Northern Mindanao.

The program aims to discover talents from the public schools, train skills of the student-athletes, build character, values and develop self-confidence as well.

It has semblance with Oro Speed Inter-Public School Basketball League, where talents from the public schools were scouted and recruited by prestigious private schools.

The association tends to be like that, but this time all participating teams numbering to at least 21 in elementary and secondary levels become stakeholders as well.

The said program was facilitated by the project team and tournament management group headed by the Schools Division Superintendent Elena Borcillo.

Among the members of the team are Assistant Division Superintendent Reynaldo Manuel, Jr. Ph. D., Chief SGOD Rosalio Vitorillo, Division Sports Coordinator Ray Maghuyop, Interim Chairman Bismark Labadan, and the members of the Board of Trustees.

This program must be undertaken because this will help the players to achieve success in all phases of life and become a better person. It is the answer to the clamor of student-athletes, teacher-coaches and parents as it gives them the opportunity to impart their expertise in the higher level of competition.

One of DepEd’s battle cries is “Education for all” since many of the youngsters will be attracted to and will eventually let them be part of the educative system as a requirement to be able to avail the said program.

During the opening, the master of ceremony Ryan Blanco smoothly ran the program starting with the invocation. Then, Vitorillo has warmly welcomed everyone in his speech.

A message of hope and challenge for everyone was given by Stephen Dacoco representing the City Mayor Oscar Moreno.

Dhana Marie Dalagan, a 3-time Palarong Pambansa player, led the oath of sportsmanship before Maghuyop formally declared the opening of the tournament in behalf of Borcillo. (Raul A. Fuentes)