Taoyuan Leopards GM Brett Su (???) said the club is hoping to organize a basketball tournament next summer where the city's migrant workers will be given a chance to showcase their talents.
The T1 LEAGUE side's home city has Taiwan's greatest number of Southeast Asian migrant workers, totaling 115,057 people, including 33,271 from the Philippines, according to Ministry of Labor data as of the end of September.
Su told CNA that as part of the club's outreach efforts they were planning a tournament for July or August next year and encouraged migrant workers, especially Filipino basketball players, to join so that they can prove their skills on the court.
"The tournament will allow us to see all levels of basketball from all walks of life similar to a 'try-out,'" Su said. "It will allow one to be part of a competition and at the same time it will let more people to see you."
Su said the event would provide a stage for people to get noticed and seen, and may create opportunities.
There are a number of Filipinos in Taiwan who played top-level competitive basketball for their high school or colleges but chose to give up on a sporting career to work in Taiwan because of the lack of financial support to get themselves noticed by scouts.
Su also expressed his interest in meeting and interacting with representatives from Filipino migrant basketball leagues in Taoyuan.
Every year, Filipino associations and clubs across Taiwan organize basketball leagues and tournaments for Filipino workers to promote friendship and help fight homesickness.
"We want to get in touch and interact with them, it is absolutely no problem," Su said.
The upcoming T1 LEAGUE has generated a buzz in Taiwan's Filipino community because of the implementation of the "third-category player," which includes a quota for players from Asian countries without taking up the usual quota for foreign imports.
Currently, three basketball players with Filipino heritage will play in the league, attracting the excitement of Filipino fans.
The players are former ASEAN Basketball League Filipino-American point guard Jason Brickman and forward Caelan Tiongson, and Filipino-Australian Jordan Heading, who suited up for the Philippines national team at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga in June.
Brickman will play for the Kaohsiung Aquas and Heading will join the Taichung Suns, while Tiongson, who is currently undergoing Taiwan's mandatory quarantine, has been enlisted by the Leopards.
The T1 LEAGUE will be one of two professional basketball leagues in Taiwan this year along with the P.LEAGUE+. The inaugural season of the T1 League will tip off Nov. 27.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel