THE Araw ng Davao festivities can already be felt all throughout the city. The same holds true for the basketball crowd eagerly anticipating the annual Araw ng Davao Invitational basketball tournament. This will happen on March 18 to 21 at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center.
Making up the cast of this year’s edition of the tournament are the DLSU Green Archers, UE Red Warriors and Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates. The fourth team that will complete the tournament is still being finalized as of yesterday presstime since San Beda University and Arellano University could not make it due to conflict of schedule.
If their showing in the recently concluded collegiate basketball wars would be an indication of how these teams will fare in the four-team tournament, LPU might be the team to beat. Certainly, the other three teams will not go down without a fight. It can be recalled that in the 80th Araw ng Davao, the DLSU team were touted heavy favorites but got upset by the emerging UP Maroons in the championship game. Will we see the same outcome for this 82nd edition of the games or will the favorite live up to its strengths and dominate the competition?
With the goal of providing a basketball spectacle featuring collegiate teams from the capital as it’s objective, this invitational tournament is definitely in sync. However, there are also a lot to be desired in providing various avenues for our local sports talents to shine. Last year, we saw the emergence of the Champions League comprised of six local teams. It was a promising start, but the athletes haven’t got the “fan base” needed. There are indeed a lot of preparations needed to organize invitationals and perhaps this is one of the limitations encountered by local organizers, a fan base that would get the local sponsors to back their events.
Organizing pocket tournaments with four teams with an established fan base may not seem as daunting as organizing and coordinating with local teams and sponsors without the established fan base. But we need to get our acts together. This is a call for all sports organizers and supporters.
If we are to embrace “local” sports heroes hailing from Davao City, we need to provide the stage and platform for them to establish the “fan base”. We have enough local talents, even as early as elementary, we can always support. We have to embrace these talents early on in their careers. Not when they are long gone to a school from the capital and we just wish to see them strut their stuff during the annual Araw ng Davao Invitationals.