THE Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are looking forward to playing in front of their fellow countrymen tonight and tomorrow in the ninth edition of the Bahrain-Philippines Goodwill Basketball Games.
The visiting professional team from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) arrived in the kingdom early yesterday evening for the event.
They are set to take on national champions Manama tonight and then battle perennial title contenders Muharraq tomorrow. Both games are scheduled for 7.30pm tip-offs.
The Goodwill Games are being held under the patronage of Bahrain Basketball Association (BBA) President Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
The Elasto Painters’ 22-man delegation was received yesterday at Bahrain International Airport by BBA general secretary Abdulelah Abdulghaffar and organising committee head Baby Fulgencio, along with other officials and adoring fans.
Last night, five members of the team spoke at a Press conference held in K Hotel in Juffair. Addressing members of the local media were head coach Carlos Garcia, assistant coach Michael Buendia, and star players James Yap, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan.
Coach Garcia said that the Goodwill Games offer a good opportunity for the Elasto Painters to continue their preparations for the new PBA season, which starts on January 13 in Manila. He added that their main focus in participating in the event is to give the Filipino fans and all basketball lovers in Bahrain a good show.
Assistant Coach Buendia expressed his delight in returning to Bahrain, as he was once the coach of local club Nuwaidrat. He said he still recognises some of the players in the videos he watches and he looks forward to a good game in the next two days.
Superstar forward Yap mirrored his coaches’ excitement. He spoke of his joy in playing in front of his countrymen and called on all Filipino basketball fans in Bahrain to come and support their team in their two games.
Belga and Almazan vowed to put on a competitive game. As anchors of the Elasto Painters’ towering front line, they said they will give a good fight, especially when facing their old teammate in American Wayne Chism, who now plays for Manama.
Chism was also at the Press conference and he described his former Elasto Painters teammates as “brothers” and “great competitors”. He also said that he too looks forward to a strong game tonight, and fancied Manama’s chances in being the first Bahraini team to beat a visiting PBA team in the Goodwill Games.
Aside from tonight’s game between the Elasto Painters and Manama, there is also a preliminary game at 5.30pm between local Filipino side Sany basketball team and The Hooperz Team.
Elasto Painters Assistant Coach Buendia will be a special guest of the Sany outfit, and they will take on The Hooperz, who are made up of a mix of Bahraini basketball legends and talented youngsters.
Tomorrow’s preliminary programme begins at 4pm with a women’s game between the PhiBah Warriors and Riffa Club. Then, at 5.30pm, there will be an Inter-Barangay League championship game between Barangay Muharraq and Barangay Mahooz. The tie between the Elasto Painters and Muharraq follows at 7.30pm.
Tickets are available at the venue. General admission tickets cost BD3 apiece, per day. For limited VIP tickets, call 34414926 or 33934798.
The Goodwill Games have been organised by The Hooperz Sport Events in cooperation with members of the Filipino community, the BBA and Nestlé Bahrain Trading.
The Goodwill Games are powered by Houras Services and Consultants, Amour de Paris Perfumes, Filinvest, UAE Exchange and Forex Cargo. It is supported by FCBG, Strictly Social.BH, BonChon, David’s Stir Fry Crazy, Jollibee, Bahay Kubo, Filipino-American Association, The K Hotel, Arwa, Trans World Travel, Print Mania, Bahrain International Karting Circuit and Track Top Adventure.