APALIT -- In an aim to engage youth in fruitful and healthy activities, the local government here under the leadership of Mayor Peter Nucom on Friday, March 16, kicked-off the 2018 MPCN Basketball Cup at the Municipal Covered Court.

Now on its second run, the activity is participated in by 12 competing teams representing all the barangays of this town, and were divided into two brackets — the East Division consisting of Barangays Capalangan, Sulipan, Cansinala, Balucuc, Calantipe and Tabuyoc, and West Division composed of Sampaloc, Paligui, San Vicente, San Juan, Sulipan and Sucad villages.

Nucom said that the sports tournament gathered all basketball players and enthusiasts, particularly youth, from all over Apalit to showcase their caliber and competency in the field of sports.

He noted the aims of the activity which is to foster unity, sportsmanship and camaraderie among the Apaliteño youth while discouraging division and physical competition among players and audience.

“We want them to showcase their skills and help one another in enhancing their basketball talents,” Nucom said.

Nucom, meanwhile, cited the significance of the basketball tournament in channelling the strength, strategy and wisdom of Apaliteños, especially out-of-school youth to a more productive and worthwhile recreational activities and avert them from engaging in illegal activities.

“This is also a program of President (Rodrigo) Duterte for the youth to veer away from illegal drugs,” he said.

Nucom also expressed his hope that the event may serve as a platform for participants who wish to play in bigger leagues such as the Philippine Basketball Association.

If fortunate, the players will be following the footsteps of Yousif Aljamal and Jojo Duncil who both played in the PBA and are Apalit natives.

Board Member Nelson Calara, who also graced the opening rites, expressed the full support of the provincial government in such activities that promote and enhance the well-being of youth.

“Governor Lilia Pineda and the whole Provincial Board supports this program of Mayor Nucom in promotiong sports and youth,” he said.

Aside from the trophy and bragging rights, winning barangays will also get to take home cash prizes amounting to P100,000, P50,000 and P30,000 respectively plus consolation prizes of 10,000 each for other teams.