TFC News

Fil-Am group holds basketball camps, Sneaker drives across U.S.

Rommel Conclara | TFC News California

Posted at Sep 15 2023 11:35 AM

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Young athletes from all over the San Francisco Bay Area recently came together for a basketball camp.

The price of admission was a pair of basketball shoes that are still in good condition, which will either be donated to local initiatives or to disadvantaged children in the Philippines.

"Camp Sole" is a national basketball camp run by the Chicago-based non-profit, Bata Sole.

“This is our biggest camp in our seventh city," said its FilAm founder Jeff Masangcay. "This is our biggest turnout. We've got about 85 kids.”

Macangsay created Bata Sole after he visited his mother's province of Pangasinan in the Philippines.

He said he noticed how the children there play basketball without shoes.

For the past five years, Masangcay and his friends have held the camps to help connect children from the U.S. and the Philippines through basketball.

“It's really about kids helping kids," Masangcay added. "The whole program is designed around basketball, but we’re teaching kids how to give back."

Michael Silungan is one of Masangcay's childhood friends. He previously played for the University of the Philippines' basketball team.

Silungan said it was rewarding to see how the program has left an impact on many children.

"We're just very blessed and lucky to be able to bring these shoes to the kids that really need it," he said. "[In] the Philippines, it’s the number one sport. Seeing those kids not having the right attire and just to see the smile on their face when they put on their shoes and they go out there and just play, that's all we need.”

Other Fil-Ams from the Bay Area who were also at Camp Sole are advocates for community work locally and in the Philippines.

“We inspire the youth to do community service and so we're here collecting shoes benefiting Project Pearls to be sent to the Philippines," said Cat Montes of The City Eats. "We have donations of food and we also have duffel bags for the youth who participated.”

After numerous shoe donation drives and basketball camps, Masangcay said he continues to be inspired by the youth.

“It's amazing," he said. "I was telling these kids back in the earlier huddle that I’m taking your stories and starting new stories for new kids.”

Masangcay will be traveling to the Philippines to deliver the donated pairs of shoes in the coming months.