Cover Story

IBBA Cup 2017

Sport does not only enhance physical well-being but it also develops a sense of friendliness among the youth and develop their team spirit.

And so, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) used sport, basketball in particular, to boost camaraderie among the people of all the barangays of Bataraza in Palawan.

As part of their community development initiatives, RTNMC and CBNC, both affiliates of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), successfully organized and conducted the first ever basketball tournament in Bataraza—Inter-Barangay Basketball Association (IBBA) Cup.

The IBBA Cup, which was in partnership with the Local Government of Bataraza, opened on June 16, 2017, aimed at engaging the youth in the community through sports.

According to Engr. Philip D. Ines, Resident Mine Manager of RTNMC, the youth is enormous.

“Through the IBBA Cup we are able to prevent the exposure of youth to vices like smoking, drinking and most especially to drugs. Because there are 300 players of this league while the others are productive of their time watching the games of IBBA Cup, supporting their friends, classmates and/or team,” said Ines.

Laurence Amores, Community Relations Supervisor of CBNC, noted that the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) of the company is anchored on youth development through scholarship and sports.

He noted that CBNC prioritizes the education program and sports is part of it.

“Actually, this is part of our social development program sa youth development. Ang priority talaga namin ay education pero nagplano kami na mag open ng tournament to involve them also in sports,” Amores said.

Through the IBBA Cup, Amores is hoping that that the Palawan Basketball Association (PaBA) can discover players from Palawan who can train and compete in the national leagues.

Coach Joe Lipa of PaBA stressed that “youth involvement in basketball will also help improve social skills, discipline and endurance among the youth.”

According to Councilor Al Ibba of Bataraza and brother of Mayor Abe Ibba, IBBA Cup was the first league in the history of Bataraza that bring all 22 Barangays to participate and play.

“Yes, this is the first time po na nangyari sa history ng Bataraza, kaya po maraming salamat po talaga sa RTNMC – NAC and CBNC for initiating this big league IBBA Cup and for supporting the Sports Development of LGU for the Municipality of Bataraza,” gratefully expressed by Ibba.

Because of the success of IBBA Cup, the local government of Bataraza is planning to hold the basketball tourney every year as a way of weaning the youth away from illegal drugs.

“Kaya natin ginawa itong IBBA Cup ay dahil rin sa programa ng ating pangulo to fight drugs, lalo na sa South na wala silang pinagkakaabalahan,” said Ibba.

For his part, Jose Bayani Baylon, NAC Vice President for Corporate Communication said IBBA Cup would also strengthen the relationships of the two mining companies with the local government of Bataraza.

“We came up with the Ibba Cup idea as a way to bridge relations between CBNC and RTNMC and the LGU. Because we have expertise in basketball it was the top of mind idea,” said Baylon.

Along the way of planning and preparation of the management and the committee they came to realize that IBBA Cup is more than bridging connections between the RTNMC and CBNC, and the LGU.

He said the two mining companies – RTNMC and CBNC – are planning to launch a women’s volleyball tournament that will engage other municipalities of Palawan.

“We hope to open a women’s volleyball event and maybe move it to other municipalities if there is a budget for it,” said Baylon.

As to achieving the objectives, Mr. Reynaldo M. Dela Rosa, RTNMC Community Relations Manager, assured that the objectives set was achieved by providing situations.

“Oo, 100 percent kasi yung main goal natin dito is to reach wider audience para sa mga advocacy ng dalawang company, which is to be a responsible mining. Unang – una kasi ang goal natin dito ay ma reach yung mga barangay and 100 percent nag participate sila. So, ibig sabihin talagang ang taas ng ating achievement doon,” he said.

Dela Rosa even added that the LGU of Bataraza will be allocating budget to support IBBA Cup.

“And then the partnership sa municipal government was even stronger at bakit ko nasabing successful kasi sila mismo through Kgwd. Al Ibba ay mag aallocate na next year ng funding to support this project, IBBA Cup. May initial amount na sila na P1 Million and that’s in principle approved na kay Mayor Abe Ibba. So, hindi yun makikita sa ibang SDMP Projects natin na nag cocounter part yung LGU. Dito pa lang natin nagawa yan initially,” he said.

IBBA Cup opens the door to the community, other LGU and possible organization or association for project partnerships.

“Siguro ito yung maging daan na makita din ng ibang partners na pupwede pala kami (RTNMC) na makipag partner sa kanila, hindi lang sa sports development later on sa community development din, etc.,” said Dela Rosa.

Bataraza residents must be excited to know that IBBA Cup will be a yearly event happening, as this is a commitment of the RTNMC and CBNC.


The Team Marangas won as the first Champion of IBBA Cup after a 90 – 88 victory over its strong rival Team Rio Tuba last September 23, 2017.

Team Marangas finished the season with only one loss in 13 games including the Semi Finals Round and sweeping the two championship games over Team Rio Tuba.

Team Marangas loss against Rio Tuba during their first match in the Semi Finals Round held in RTN Gymnasium.

The game gave the audience goosebumps and breathe taking moments in the last few minutes of the quarter.

The scores where so closed and even tied in the last 3 seconds after the 3-point shoot of Bedonia of Team Rio Tuba. Which gave the 5 – minute overtime.

“Nakakapanghina po talaga yung pagkatalo namin kahit bearing game lang yun, kasi pride po yung pinag uusapan doon” said Micko Gonzales of Marangas.

The point guard continued that loss gave them motivation to improve their game and win it all at the expense of their archrival Team Rio Tuba on their first championship game, Rio Tuba having home court advantage.

“Grabe po yung game namin ng Team Rio Tuba noong Semi Finals super na challenge po kami na galingan pa at mag practice pa para makabawi sa Team Rio Tuba sa aming Championship Game.” said Micko Gonzales of Marangas, a key player of their team.


The battle for championship began last September 21, 2017 at Usman Gym, Rio Tuba. The whole gym was full of the supporters of each teams with their banners and cheers.

The first two quarters were all in favor of Team Rio Tuba but Team Marangas poured it on in the last two quarters, taking advantage of Rio Tuba’s turnovers.

This gave Team Marangas their biggest lead, and end up winning the Game 1.

Supporters of Rio Tuba was so in despair after their team losses against its bitter rival Team Marangas.

After defeating archrival Team Rio Tuba, 90-88, on September 23 Saturday at the Municipal Gym, Bataraza, Team Marangas has finally reached IBBA Cup Championship for the first time in IBBA Cup history.

In the end, Mark Dench Beringuer was named the Finals MVP.

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