The Prairie Basketball League’s (PBL) first winter league season is ending with championship games coming up this weekend.
Commissioner Abram Razon looks back on the past season, which he says has been “nothing short of amazing.”
“We've got a lot of support from the community, which is good. It is nice to finally have a basketball organization here in Steinbach where we don't have to drive up to the city just to play the game that we love. It's been good overall,”
For the last ten years, they have been known as the South East Manitoba Filipino Association (SEMFA) Basketball League. This year, they rebranded to Prairie Basketball League and opened it up to the whole community through the junior and Open Elite divisions.
“It's nice to see everybody come together, not just the Filipinos, but the entire Southeast Manitoba community. We've been thankful for it,” he says.
The need for basketball in the southeast has been evident through the community’s response. He says that it has been “positive” and that they are looking “for more.”
With the demand, they will have a spring league and make two major changes.
“We're adding a high school division now that the high school season is over. We'll also be adding a women's open division to accommodate all areas,” he says.
The women’s division is a brand-new opportunity for the league.
“It will most likely be run the same way we're doing the juniors and the seniors [divisions]. We'll do an individual sign-up. We will most likely hold a couple of open runs just to see how everybody plays, and pick captains from there. Then, we will draft all the players to make sure all the teams are evenly split up,” he explains.
Registration for the spring league will open on Sunday, February 19. The details can be found on social media and their website, prairiebasketballleague.ca.
As they wrap up the winter season, Razon commends the work of the volunteers, everyone involved, and the generosity of the sponsors that make the league a possibility.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone, the players, the coaches, the referees, the volunteers. Thank you so much for trusting what we want to do and what we're all about. Please keep supporting us. We only want to go from here.”
Finally, Razon encourages the community to attend the championship games happening for all divisions happening this weekend. You can find details on the league's website.
“Playoff atmosphere is always different. There's always that different feeling in the gym. You can feel the intensity as soon as you walk in, and everybody's in serious mode,” he says. “I expect finals to be just as exciting, if not more, than last year’s. If you were here last year, it was an amazing atmosphere to be in.”
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