Filipino-American athletes from all ages in Virginia recently gathered to compete in a three-day sporting tournament.
The event, led by the North American Basketball Association, also served as an opportunity for performers from different cities to showcase Filipino culture.
Former Philippine Basketball Association coach Rino Salazar was among the referees of the basketball games.
He shared how the tournament also seeks to foster stronger ties between Filipino communities across the United States.
"The losing and the winning the games, those things fade away," he said. "But the thing we’re trying to develop here is the relationship with each other."
The NABA InterCity Tournament has been held since 1989, but it was the first time that it was held in Virginia Beach.
"We have 16 cities from Toronto, all the way to Tampa, [Las] Vegas and to New York," said Hadrian Apoderado, the FilAm Virginia Beach invitational basketball commissioner. "We’re blessed for that opportunity and to actually do it here in Virginia Beach, our home town."
The tournament was originally meant for basketball games but has since evolved to include volleyball and badminton.
This year, bowling also made an inaugural tournamet with representatives from six different cities.
Many athletes, especially the young ones, look forward to NABA tournaments each year and one of those is the winning basketball team from New York City.
"Playing with this group is special," said Alex Grospe, a member of the New York basketball team. "Any chance we play with each other, we always wanna win together."
Former PBA import and MVP Lamont Strothers came to the event to show support for the participants.
He stressed that discipline and hard work are key to becoming successful in sports, especially to those who aspire to play professional basketball in the Philippines.
"I always tell kids: You have to have your goals and your dreams," said Srothers. "But what lies between your goals and your dreams is your discipline. And so you have to be disciplined in your work."