Everyone knows a few coaches and sports volunteers whose unceasing dedication in their respective sports make a huge difference in the lives of kids.
Manny Aranez is the long-time president and chief organizer of the very successfulPhilippine Basketball Association (PBA). The Garden City based league is open to all basketball players and groups.
Last week the league completed its 12th November-to-April season.
This community driven program is the product of Aranez and a team of 25 volunteers.
"The volunteers are the key in this league. They love the game, they want to celebrate this great sport by assisting kids and adults to have fun and to be active in the winter months," Aranez says.
In 2001, a small group of volunteers launched the PBA Winnipeg with only seven teams. The league’s home base was the Freight House Community Centre. The league soared in the following years. Daniel McIntyre High School became the next venue and in 2011, the program moved to Garden City Collegiate in Seven Oaks.
The collegiate has three regulation size gymnasiums with bleachers and excellent parking facilities to accommodate the weekend schedules. In addition to league games, coaches keep their teams busy with weekly practice sessions.
This season the PBA boasted over 900 players on 74 teams in 11 divisions, including 1 girls’ and 2 ladies’ divisions. Division winners are eligible to represent Winnipeg at the annual PBA North American Cities Tournamentnds to be held this year in Windsor, Ont.
Aranez’s passion for the game stems from the great times that he had as a high school and college level player.
"He loves basketball. Since his retirement a few years ago, Manny has doubled his volunteer time in the league", said Amelia Aranez, Manny’s wife and fellow volunteer.
The not-for-profit league anticipates adding 10 teams in the 2014-15 season.
For program info contact Manny Aranez: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Dabee is a community correspondent for The Maples. You can contact him at email@example.com