ALL of us have Francis Escandor to thank for in the first ever Royal Mandaya Hotel Cup, the newest and only hotel-sponsored basketball tournament in Davao City, which had its press launching last Wednesday at RMH and the colorful formal opening Saturday at the Davao City Recereation Center.

Francis, in fact was the rebounding, running big boy of the Ateneo grade school in the tournament dedicated to all basketball players his age in the 11 years old and under category.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Ateneo as expected will have Holy Child School of Davao again as its closest rival after easily dislodging its first assignment the Assumption School of Davao by as much as forty points in the opener.

Emar Learning Center is also expected to pose a major challenge plus five other grade school teams, including tournament newcomer Magallanes Elementary School.

The entry of Magallanes should inspire more participation from the public schools in this division especially that the tournament is free of expensive registration fees.

Glenn Escandor, heir apparent to the booming enterprises established through hardwork and the business acumen of Colonel Emil Escandor, thought of the tournament to give children basketball players more playing venues and exposure at the least expense.

This is also one of our contributions to the ongoing festivities of the Kadayawan to make the annual festival merrier and successful, Glenn Escandor said during the well-attended opening ceremony.

The whole Escandor family was in full force during the opening game cheering for their team and Francis.

This is also one unique instance where both Scoop and the Davao Sports writers Association members were present to cover the games also as a way of thanking Glenn and the Escandor family for their consistent support towards the development of sports.

The tournament has the full backing of the godfather of Davao basketball Regino "Boy" Cua. We owe Boy Cua so much in terms of his sacrifices and generous support in making basketball as the core of our athletic and sports development and youth training.

The press launch of the RMH Cup was also well-attended last Wednesday with no less than Coach Totie Andes, National Director of Athletes in Action, Philippine Sports Movement and Coach Craig, director and founder of the International Performance Sciences in attendance.

Both international sports personalities were successful in conducting for free the first ever coaching clinic and strength and conditioning seminar attended by some 100 sports writers, coaches, and instructors from aerobics to marathon, judo to mix-martial arts and soccer to basketball held just below the Gaisano Skygym for two days, Monday and Tuesday last week.

Coach Craig is one of the most sought-after strength and conditioning specialists from Nebraska, the acknowledged capital of American football.

Craig who is also into lecturing sports nutrition had a taste for the first time of my backyard juicy delicious fruit Rambutan. The Nebraskan sports expert gave our Rambutan an E rating for excellent and said that his first trip in Davao is also an encounter of the great tasting Penong's barbeque.

Nebraska Beat: I like most especially the warmth of the people of Davao. - Craig M. Schinck