Say Thanks, Fellas
|Okay, so this is way overdue.|
Okay, so this is like telling you that on Sunday December 16, 2007, the Pistons pounded the Warriors, the Lakers won the battle of LA, the Celtics toyed with Toronto, and Portland, who was in the middle of that amazing streak, pounded Denver.
Well, in fact, that’s exactly what happened back on December 16 of last year on that blustery cold Sunday in the world of the NBA, but in the world of the DL, a world that’s much more interesting only ‘cause you’re playing in it, what went down? And why are we only talking about this NOW? It’s February. It’s 2008.
Well, one: it’s better late than never.
Two: this here scribe, this here lazy scribe, literally took off for the 50th state a few hours after Gotham City Games 2007 ended, and with the start of the DLNY league starting up right when he got back, he hadn’t found the time until now to get busy.
In the famous words we all utter on the court after we make an errant pass: My bad.
Even though it’s been two months, one mean tan, tons of spam musubis and malasadas, one Shaq trade, and a Superman dunk later, I remember like it was all yesterday.
Even though it’s called the Gotham City Games, this year – this past year – we held the shenanigans down in Princeton, NJ due to the toughness of getting available gym time up in the city and thanks entirely to one Andre Liu, who on this occasion, better than Tony Hu, came through in the clutch. And while hosting GCG in central Jersey was thought to perhaps be a hindrance in terms of getting teams to come, dare I say that it actually helped the situation instead.
While the travel became worse for New York teams but better for Philly teams (Sidd Anand of FAY loved it), it mattered none for teams like the Boston Knights, Lotsaboks, and the Dream League Bay Area, many of who arrived Saturday morning off a red-eye from Oakland to Newark.
Have game, will travel.
That definitely proved to be the case and it applied to those who stood at the end as well – the NJ/Cali Soormay Franchise.
What’s with the backslash?
Well, it is what it sounds like.
How this franchise became a bi-coastal effort is a back-story whose details I don’t have, but however it came about, the results are proving worthy as the NJ part, 6’7” Balbir Singh, and the Cali part, Paul Phangurh, both of whom play for their respective colleges, tag teamed the best when it counted the most and took the chip with a 50-46 decision over Philly FAY in the final game of a grueling tournament.
Folks, they did this as a sixth seed. Sheesh. Yes, the field was strong.
That we specifically had such strong Cali representation warmed our hearts as we considered it an early Christmas gift to ourselves.
The DL has been steadily working towards serving as a true pan-Asian American national forum for the best of the best to compete against one another. We’ve already said it once, twice, maybe three-hundred times. There are respective national Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and Indo-Pak tournaments that have been long standing. It may take another 5-10 years to reach critical scale, but the DL’s efforts of cross-pollinating these communities will hopefully continue to grow. GCG ’07, our second one, is just another small step in that direction.
(Another such organization trying to do this comes out of the state from where I just came. The Hawaii Chosen Few’s John Lane is looking for teams interested in playing a pan-Asian tournament in Hawaii this coming August. Let us know if you’re interested!)
That we had such a strong field is just a testament to how much stronger and stronger teams are getting across the U.S. – and this is only the tip of the iceberg as we know tons of teams out there that were unable to make it.
But a good sampling from New York (Cruisers), Boston (Knights), the various IndoPak teams, and California (DLBA) was here and names such as Phangurh, Reding, Hu, Yanagocio, Mohiuddin, Nausrudeen, and Brush were enough to make us forget that the likes of De Los Reyes, Gusner, Echevestre, and Bains weren’t present.
So, thank you.
Thank you DLBA for coming all this way on the weekend before Christmas. Thank you for coming all the way to Princeton which meant you only got to see about an hour’s worth of Manhattan on Saturday night.
Thank you Wilson Wang (37) for showing us that you’re never too old to lead a tournament in scoring.
Thank you Boston Knights for driving down from Beantown on a Friday night to make your game. Teams from New York couldn’t even do that.
Thank you Andre for getting this gym for us and the one million other things you did that weekend to make it all so seamless.
And thank YOU, to whoever participated in GCG ’07. It’s thanks to you that this lineage of pan-Asian American basketball is growing and will continue to do such.
We'll see you next - well, this - year at GCG '08!
GCG '07 Champs: NJ/Cali Soormay Franchise (with tourney co-directors Varun Bhartiya (top right) & Brian Yang (bottom right)