PURCHASE, NY— The Filipino amateur league in Connecticut or FalConn started out with only a group of Filipino hoopsters playing their favorite past-time on weekends in Fairfield County, Connecticut back in 2008.
Today, FalConn has grown into an annual interstate sporting event that includes basketball, volleyball, bowling, fishing among others.
The Kabayan Cup Year 5 opening festivities at the purchase college in New York on Sunday marked the beginning of another season of sports, recreation and charity for this Filipino community.
FalConn chairman Waway Cabello said, “Hopefully we can discover young, with potential in basketball , in fact may mga anak ng former PBA player din na naglalaro dito ngayon… hopefully maka discover din tayo ng mga players na magagaling talaga.”
RJ Marata, son of late PBA player RicRic Marata said, “All the Filipinos that are playing here right now, that’s what their aim is, like trying to get in some sort of league, in the college league or the professional league, that’s their aim, it might be the NBA or might be the PBA, that’s their aim to get better.”
24 year old RJ Marata said he is inspired by the likes of Miami Heat Fil-Am coach Eric Spoelstra, Asian star NBA player Jeremy Lin and most of all his late father, RicRic marata —
A former Visayan PBA point guard who played for Alaska, Santa Lucia, pop cola and Sunkist.
Marata senior was also the PBA all-star three-point champion in 1994 and 1996.
His father died due to reported complications from an intestinal surgery in New York in 2010.
RJ Marata said, “It inspires me a lot, because as Filipino people we’re not really that big, but we have the skills to play basketball, and when you see other people reaching their goals in life, it just gives you a boost to play harder and to train harder.”
But for Albany, New York resident Jeffrey Muncada, Filipino amateur basketball leagues like this may be his ticket to play professionally in the PBA in the homeland someday.
Jeff Muncada says, “Para makilala ka naman, makita yung laro mo, maraming magaling dito na maraming mga pangarap na ganyan na wala lang nakakita, saka yung dream nila na gustong marating.”
As the Kabayan Cup continues the search for the next Filipino basketball stars, FalConn and its members will continue to bring the Filipino-American community in the northeast together through sports and camaraderie.