By Kris Ontong
The South Eastman Filipino Association (SEMFA) Basketball League kicked off its 2019 Season on September 28 in Steinbach, the province’s third largest city and home to an estimated 2,000 kababayan.
Interviewed on Steinbach’s Golden West radio, league spokesperson Abram ‘Absky’ Razon explains how this season is the largest to date: “We expanded from a maximum of six teams coming from the southeastern, to twelve teams now having almost 200 players involved in the league.”
Two new divisions were also added. The regular division that is open to players ages 15 to 34 is now the Senior division, while those age 14 and under play in the new Junior Division. The other new division is for Veterans who are age 35 and onward.
The opening ceremonies was held at Clearspring Middle School, with Steinbach Mayor Earl Funk and MLA Kelvin Goertzen in attendance to bring greetings. They also helped out in handing certificates of appreciation to league sponsors. During a portion of the opening rites, a raffle was held which raised $800. According to Razon, Cancer Care was chosen as the beneficiary since the area’s Filipino community recently lost a couple of members to the disease, and to show support to those who are currently fighting it. Mayor Funk joined officers of the SEMFA Council in presenting the cheque to Josh Gruninger of the Bethesda Regional Health Centre.
The SEMFA Basketball League will run until November 16, with games scheduled every Saturday afternoon. The alternative playing venue is at Stonybrook Middle School.
Photos courtesy of Jawien Altre and SEMFA Basketball