It was a beautiful, Sunday morning at the YMCA Derrimut Centre, perfect for a basketball game. The day started with all sorts of people with their basketball and game face on ready to play ball. Volunteers were flooded by enthusiastic players and their cheerleaders at the registration table. All were eager to become heroes for the poor.

Let the games begin. First game was the main game of 5 on 5 with 8 teams vying for the coveted GK All Stars champion. The teams were PBA Care, NZ Black, Hammer Brothers, Work Ethic, Ravens, Juggernaut, North West Melbourne and Melbourne Klasmeyts.  Team cheerleaders became quite vocal and screamed and shouted for their team; some were even coaching from the sidelines.  There were many tense moments throughout these games, but in the end it was between PBA Care and Ravens. Both teams gave an astonishing finals performance, and certainly did their teams proud. However, there can only be one winner: PBA Care beat Ravens by 21 points.

The other game was the 3 on 3 and comprised of 8 teams as well: Muskeeters, Big 3, Jhocel, M2M, Vincent Rivera, Dymas, Small 3 and Thundercats. These games were exciting to watch as it was hard to keep an eye on just one team; much was going on both courts and much more screams and shouts outside of it. As the day went on, no matter how loud screams can be, only one team can win the finals: Musketeers defeated team Small 3.

Players not only showed their prowess on the basketball court as a team player, but also their talent at shooting hoops.  Twenty five players registered to play the 3 point shoot-out and it wasn’t just for the big boys, a couple of young boys also took part. The premise of the game was to demonstrate how many basketballs you can shoot in one minute from various parts of the half court.  Each participant was determined to outdo the previous player, but there can be only one winner. The coveted GK All Stars 3 point shoot-out winner was Jun Reyes with 13 shoots in one minute.

All in all the day was competitive, but fun, busy but rewarding, and all for a good cause. Each participant was a hero for the poor, and each person that attended now know a little bit about the important work Gawad Kalinga does in Australia and in the Philippines.  This was truly a successful event as event organisers have been asked if another one is in the works soon.  The writer believes this may be the start of an annual GK Melbourne event for the community, so hopefully next year there will be more players and even more cheerleaders.

The event organisers would like to thank their sponsors for making the event a reality: YMCA Derrimut Health and Aquatic Centre, Kabayan Restaurant, Talyer Auto Service, Liz Honey Promotions and Entertainment, The Migrant Hub and The Salsa Foundation. Event organisers would also like to thank the volunteers from FASTCO and Tau Gamma Phi who worked tirelessly on the day. Watch out in the coming months for more GK Melbourne events and news.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the players. See you all next year.

By Marylou Dellosa