Manny Pangilinan is ready to put Windsor on the basketball map.


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Manny Pangilinan is ready to put Windsor on the basketball map.

President of Battle 519, Pangilnan announced Windsor would be third city to host 

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“Basketball is alive and well in Windsor and it has been for a while, but no one outside our borders really knows how much the game has grown,” Pangilinan said at the announcement at the Toldo Lancer Centre. “If  you go to Toronto or an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) even in Detroit, people are always surprised you’re from Windsor and even surprised when you are able to compete and win.”

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The plan for Battle 519 is to turn the Riverfront Festival Plaza into ‘a basketball wonderland’ for the 24-team event, which is set for the Labour Day weekend of Aug. 30th to Sept. 1st.

“We’re excited to be here in Windsor,” said Clyde Pacis, who is president of Battle Canada. “Just being here in Windsor and having 519 is exciting. I look forward to transforming Riverside (Drive) into one unique basketball court.”

Actually, it will be two customized basketball courts set up in the plaza where 24 teams will compete at the venue that will also feature food and merchandise vendors as well as entertainment.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens speaks at a press conference on Wednesday for the Battle 519 basketball tournament.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens speaks at a press conference on Wednesday for the Battle 519 basketball tournament. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

“We want to support events like battle of the plaza because it helps bring people from across Ontario (and) from across the border in Michigan,” Mayor Drew Dilkens said. “This event, on its own, is exciting for everyone. To me, it means so much more to the community.”

Pangilinan said the event has been in the works for nearly two years and the University of Windsor will serve as the presenting sponsor.

“With the announcement of the 519 Battle basketball tournament, we celebrate true community in action,” University of Windsor president Dr. Robert Gordon said. “It’s about more than basketball. It’s about bringing players, fans and our entire community together to share the joy of sports and camaraderie.”

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The 24 teams will compete in five-on-five play four divisions with eight corporate teams, six high school varsity boys’ teams, six varsity junior boys’ teams and four open girls teams featuring players in Grades 9-12.

Pangilinan said there are still openings for teams to participate, but that there is a vetting process. Further information is available at battlecanda.ca and there is a fee of about $1,250 per team.

Money raised from the event will go to the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County and W.E. (Windsor-Essex) Care for Kids Foundation.

“My hope is we have 4,000 to 5,000 people for the event and hopefully raise anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000 (for the two charities),” Pangilinan said.

As well as the charities, the area stands to benefit from the event as well said Gordon Orr, who is the chief executive officer of Tourism Windsor, Essex and Pelee Island as well as president of the university’s alumni association.

“Sports generates a lot of economic benefits,” said Orr, who estimates the average history spends just under $300 per day when visiting the area.  “It brings a lot of overnight visitation and the longer they’re here, the more money they will spend. It’s an economic generator and job creator and it helps support an industry of over 10,000 people.”

jpparker@postmedia.com

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