Draft Night kickstarts 2019 season of JCI Manila Basketball League

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by Jonas Egan Reyes

The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila kicked off one of its much-anticipated events of 2019 in style in their General Membership Meeting last February 12 at the Wack-Wack Country Club Tent in Mandaluyong.

Along with the induction of new members, JCI Manila opened their 2019 basketball tournament with the Sports Draft Night. The event, which took a page out of professional basketball leagues, saw the 10 participating teams form their lineups from a pool of 31 rookies along with the regular members of the prestigious organization.


This year, JCI Manila tapped Kings of the Court | STR8 Philippines to oversee the staging of the basketball tournament. Miko Medalla, JCI Manila’s Director for Membership Development and the head for sports, echoed the distinction that comes along with their recent tie-up with KOTC | STR8.


“Another innovation for the year is we want to maximize the ‘wow factor’ and maximize exposure of the team owners. We have partnered with KOTC to have a strong social media presence with over 110,000 subscribers on Facebook. They will be handling the photography and videography of our games, our postgame graphics and video highlights plus PR,” said Medalla in his speech before the general membership.

The night of merry-making reached its peak as the draft proper went underway.

CSO-Honda-Mobile Minds selected first overall and drafted Erwin Cornejo, the Rookie of the Year from 2018 edition of the tournament. Cornejo, who played for the Mapua Cardinals in the NCAA, vowed to provide leadership for the expansion squad in another competitive basketball season.


“I can contribute leadership through my experience in college. Mas competitive ngayon kasi maraming bago so kailangang maghanda talaga this year,” said Cornejo.

Hamza took in Cons Ong at second, while Kiss the Tiramisu (KTT) picked former UST Growling Tiger Christian Luanzon at third.

With the fourth pick, FR Sevilla-22 Thatcher reeled in Kerby Chua. At fifth, Henry’s Cameras-Toyota opted for Gerwin Ong. Klimex Capital Markets, which selected at sixth, chose Kelvin Lim. Starpay then picked Kevin Papco at seventh.


Completing the list of first round signees were Nestor Ng (TNL), James Sy (Chigo Air-conditioning) and Jaime Barlizo (Hunters).

Basketball action commences on March 24 at The Upper Deck in Ortigas. Other events that form part of JCI Manila’s annual sportsfest include golf, e-games, football and spartan race, among others.