This is proof that basketball gives everyone the opportunity to maximize their potential

By Nicole Ganglani | Photos courtesy of Blackwater 

On Oct. 13, Blackwater hosted the “Play With Your Idols” basketball game featuring celebrities Rayver Cruz and Ronnie Alonte as well as a 3×3 exhibition tournament at the Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City.

Unlike your typical basketball match, both pick-up games were unpredictable for all teams involved. Prior to the event, participants of the 3×3 tournament had no idea who they were going up against with. A total of eight teams played each other and much to the delight of the crowd saw Team Manila, composed of the shortest guys on the floor, emerge as champions of the 3×3 tournament.

Featuring team captain Midzmar Surain and members Hafizkhan Hasan, Adzhar Udjan, and Yashier Tan, Team Manila’s height deficit wasn’t a handicap on the floor. Instead, their hot shooting and ability to create points down the paint brought home the P9,000  purse and special Blackwater prizes.

The 3×3 tournament was a good way to gather hoop players and junkies from around the country. The rise of 3×3 has since brought a much faster pace to the game, a great way to evaluate skills on the court, and a more exciting approach to basketball. Blackwater is one of the pioneer brands to organize such a thrilling pick-up tournament, bringing together many young Filipino ballers to play the sport closest to their hearts.

Diego Dario, Roi Sumang, and Allein Maliksi played alongside Ronnie Alonte

But the highlight of the day was without a doubt, the “Play with Your Idols” exhibition. Primetime celebrities Cruz (Team Rayver) and Alonte (Team Ronnie) led their own teams. Suiting up under Cruz were UP Fighting Maroon alumni Paul Desiderio, Mac Belo, and Bobby Ray Parks while UAAP alumni Diego Dario, Roi Sumang, and Allein Maliksi played alongside Alonte. Sixteen fans were also given the opportunity to sign up on social media to take part in the main event.

Team Rayver started the game strong with their hot shooting 

From the start of the tournament, Team Rayver led the way thanks to their ability to score inside and capitalize on fast break opportunities. Desiderio knocked down three-point markers in the first half while Cruz found ways to sink floaters and lay-ups.

Team Ronnie started sloppy but eventually picked up their pace in the third quarter. It was Alonte himself who cut the deficit and bring his team back into the game after scoring one three-pointer after another. Sumang and Dario also picked up Team Ronnie’s offense with multiple buckets and defensive stops. As the game went down the wire, Alonte converted crucial buckets from downtown, which gave them the lead, 89-87, with five seconds left in the game. Cruz unfortunately failed to convert the shot that could have won or sent the game to overtime.

Paul Desiderio, Mac Belo, and Bobby Ray Parks teamed up with Rayver Cruz

Luckily for Alonte’s fans, they had bragging rights after the game as their team came out victorious. It was definitely a game filled with excitement and talent on the basketball court.

Thanks to Blackwater’s event, many dreams were fulfilled as fans around the country had the opportunity to watch and even play with their favorite professional players and celebrities.

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