Philippine celebrities to play basketball with OFWs in Taiwan

Taipei, Nov. 18 (CNA)-A team of celebrities from the Philippines is scheduled to play a friendly basketball match in Taichung Sunday to celebrate Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Taiwan.

The Star Magic Team from the Philippines will play the winner of a playoff between two teams of Filipino migrant workers at 3 p.m. at Fengyuan District Stadium in Taichung. The playoff takes place at 9:30 a.m.

The event is not just a performance for OFWs by celebrities, it is intended to inspire them and display passion for basketball which is very popular among Filipinos in Taiwan, Gerald Anderson, a film and television actor and celebrity team captain, said at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Saturday.

The team was greeted by members of Filipino organizations in Taiwan at a welcome reception held Saturday at the MECO in Taipei.

“I’m excited about the friendly game and I hope I can entertain my fellow Filipinos,” JC De Vera, a Filipino actor and model, said during a chat with the hosts of the Filipino media conglomerate ABS-CBN and its global television network The Filipino Channel (TFC), which organized the team and the event.

“Filipinos often see them on screen showcasing their talent acting, singing and dancing. Tomorrow, you will see them exhibit their talent in sports, especially basketball,” Lou Abad, the team coach said.

The Filipino migrant workers taking part in the playoff match were selected after a series of preliminaries held over the past few months.

Maribel Hernaez, regional marketing head at ABS-CBN, said the match was a result of a survey done among the Filipino community in Taiwan which found that basketball is one of their favorite things about Taiwan.

“We bring our artists and network closer to them by organizing a basketball match, because it’s not enough that we entertain them. It’s also very important we become part of their lives and the things that are important to them,” she said.

According to Attorney Keefe Dela Cruz, director of the Assistance to Nationals Section of MECO, which co-hosted the event, about 150,000 Filipinos live in Taiwan, including factory workers, home-based caretakers and 10,000 who are married to Taiwanese citizens.

“We are very excited to have you to play our players, the best of the best,” he said.