At the press conference with Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes (fourth from left) on Tuesday.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The Philippine Consulate General (PCGDXB), in collaboration with sports enthusiasts and in its efforts to continually cement camaraderie among the 400,000 Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, is staging a Philippine inter-city basketball tournament from Aug. 9 to Sept. 20.
To make it more interesting and as Filipinos have that penchant for showbiz personalities, the Organising Committee, chaired by Ace Echo Quijada, is partnering with Philippine global television network GMA, for what is to be known as the landmark “Congen’s Cup/GMA Pinoy TV Inter-Basketball Tournament 2019.”
Details of the seven-week hard court battle was announced at the press conference on Tuesday.
At the press conference was Philippine Commercial Attache Charmaine Mignon Yalong.
She briefed the media on how Manila’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through Secretary Ramon Lopez, as the Philippines@Expo2020 Dubai-Organising Committee chairperson & commissioner general, is gearing up for the global Oct. 20, 2020 to April 19, 2021 event.
The Philippines@Expo2020 Dubai Organising Committee members are the Department of Tourism as vice chairperson, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Labour and Employment, and Department of Budget and Management.
Yalong said President Duterte heavily weighed on the huge presence of the Filipinos in the UAE and in the Middle East for the Philippines@Expo2020 Dubai.
“The Philippine participation is not only limited to the Philippine Pavilion (and the expected business-to-business activities),” said the designated Dubai Events Dubai Filipino Activities in-charge.
The country’s history and culture will also be given prominence through the pavilion design of “bangkota.”
“Bangkota” is the Filipino ancient word for coral reef. It images the Filipinos’ ability and capability to acclimatize.
Categories of the projects, which Yalong and Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes have expressed hope will stir active engagement from Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, cover creative industries which include fashion, indigenous textiles, and agri-products; history, heritage, cuisine, arts, music and dance, and sports, leading up to the Expo2020 Dubai Grand Opening.
On sports and in relation to the Aug. 9 to Sept. 20 Congen’s Cup, registration for the 16 teams whose players should be Philippine passport holders will be on July 19, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the PCGDXB villa in Al Qusais.
The registrants should not have played in any professional basketball league tournament.
“We are limiting to 16 teams only whose players are Class D (Unrated) with a height of 5’10” (1.77 meters) and below, with two reinforcements whose height are maximum of 6’4” (1.93 meters),” said Quijada.
The height requirements are so since in accordance with public’s vote, the best of the best from among the 16 competing teams will become one team to represent the Dubai and the Northern Emirates Filipinos in the consequent friendly match with visiting GMA All-Star Kapuso basketball team scheduled in the afternoon of Sept. 20.
The GMA All-Star Kapuso basketball team consists of Filipino actors Mark Herras (1.67 meters), Andre Paras (1.92 meters), Rocco Nacino (1.7 meters), Mikael Daez (1.83 meters), Derrick Monasterio (1.78 meters), Mike Tan (1.78 meters), and Kristofer Martin (1.7 meters).
Cortes said the other twist to the tournament is that all the 16 teams should represent any Philippine city to create “connection with our country as (these teams should also have emblems of the cities they are representing in the tournament). With that we are promoting our country’s tourism.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine participation at the Expo2020 Dubai, first to be held in the Middle East, is its 13th participation, since the first World Expo was held from April 1851 to Oct. 1851 in Great Britain.
The Expo School Programme has unveiled four dedicated school tours of Expo 2020 Dubai, costing Dhs50 per student per journey.
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana on Wednesday evening said Manila will participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai and its pavilion will be reflective of who the Filipino is not only in these modern times but through the ages and beyond.
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