“Lahat ng player makakalaro, walang mababangko.” This reminds me of Lilo and Stitch’s iconic line, “Family means no one gets left behind.”
This tagline encapsulates what the Batang Pilipino Basketball League is all about – an inclusive and equal opportunity platform created for sports-minded Filipino youth. The league has set out to discover, harness, and develop the potential of young athletes nationwide, especially those at the grass-roots level.
BPBL was founded in October 2020 by Coach Ron Camara and Jun Ebdane, who both believe that there is plenty of untapped talent in the field of basketball in the Philippines. Momentarily deterred, but not disheartened by the pandemic, Camara and Ebdane knew that this was a goal worth pursuing, and a shot at changing the future of these youth for good.
Their efforts finally came into fruition. A total of 194 teams were gathered, composed of 2,910 male and female players in the 18 Under category, from 65 municipalities and cities in 13 regions, including Regions 1, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, CAR, BARMM, and NCR. The first pre-season game was held in April of 2022 at the Palaruang Batang Lambak in Marikina City. Succeeding games went on until December 2022 in multiple regions across the country.
True to its tagline, BPBL gave chances for everyone to play. Talent was indeed aplenty,
and with the opportunity to play came exposure for many promising athletes. Of the
thousands, Coach Camara names a few who have stood out: Kent Bacani (Pampanga),
Brothers Honorio and Ricky Murillo (Aklan), and Lance Graham Sabroso (Cebu) from the
Boys Division; Rozie Amantong (Davao), and Aise Mae Solis (Bukidnon) from the Girls
Division. “These boys and girls are the go-to guys,” Coach Camara says. “They are not
only gifted, but they are also very hardworking, show leadership qualities, and
maasahan at the critical moments.”
On the ground, Coach Camara has seen how transformative the BPBL games have been
for the participants. “Because of their exposure, some players have already been
scouted and offered scholarships by UAAP and NCAA member universities and other
local colleges. What’s more, the out-of-school youth who have been playing with us
have been offered high school scholarships, as well.” These BPBL teams have also
caught the attention of their local government units, who have since provided support
by renovating basketball facilities in their localities. Better facilities mean a more
inspiring training ground for their players.
The progress that BPBL has made in such a short time continues to motivate its cofounder, Jun Ebdane. While his original vision of training potential professional basketball players, keeping youth away from vices, and securing a college education for them is still the priority, he has also seen how the BPBL games can make an impact on the localities they visit. “For every game that we hold, business opportunities are created,” Ebdane shares. “From as small as food vendors at the venue, to slightly bigger ones like banner printers and sports jersey makers, BPBL games somehow contribute to
And as if to give its seal of approval, LGUs have now partnered with BPBL to boost local
tourism. Through social media, BPBL is able to promote spots and attractions in the
participating towns and cities, in a continuing effort to encourage travelers to visit and
stimulate local economy.
Nine months later, BPBL has now reached the end of its first season. From the original
194 teams, 25 will now vie for the Championship title. Five hundred athlete-delegates
will gather in Metro Manila for this 3-day event.
Eliminations will be held from January 27 to 28, at 4 venues in San Juan City – San Juan
Gymnasium, Ronac Art Center, Greenhills West Basketball Court, and the Filoil EcoOil
Centre. All games will be live-streamed via Facebook. The Championship Finals will be
on January 29 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre, and will be live-streamed on Facebook and
The Opening Ceremony is slated for January 27, at the FilOil EcoOIl Centre. Event starts
at 7am. The Closing and Awarding Ceremony happens on January 29 at 4pm. Tickets for
all the games and the opening and closing ceremonies will be available at the venue
The Batang Pilipino Basketball League Championship: Liga ng Bayan, Liga ng Kabataan
is made possible with the support of Philippine Airlines, Gilmore Tower Suites, Wow
Hotels, Gabrielle’s Organic Meat and Poultry, Casa Cochinillo, Monte Cristo Meat and
Poultry, Honey, Brie, & Me, Charmee, Islander, Uratex Foam, Alliance Global, Lamco
Paper Products, Senco Link Technologies, and United Limsun International Trading.