In a very rare occasion, the PSU welcomed some friends from California USA, the Embrace and Reach Team. They have chosen Palawan as their latest pit stop in their tour of the Philippines as part of their ministry.

When they are playing on the court, they call themselves the Soldiers for Christ. In an interview, Coach Lawrence Crawford, head coach of the Soldiers for Christ, elaborated on the Embrace and Reach Ministry.

“We are part of a large mission that comes to the Philippines. We have basketball games and basketball clinics, medical ministry, dental ministry, campus ministry and jail ministry. We also have praise dance and a variety of different things,” said the basketball coach of the Soldiers of Christ, who are currently on their seventh visit to the Philippines.

Nathanael Evanko was also there in his capacity as the head of Campus Ministry. He also shares how sports and faith were very critical in his positive transformation.

“I lived a hard life. I did drugs and crime. The Lord put me on a calling to mission. Now I lead the campus ministry and we go to schools and do skits, dance and games and then share our testimonies and we also share our relationship about Jesus Christ,” said Evanko.

The Soldiers for Christ have been to 20 schools all over the Philippines to conduct basketball clinics and play in exhibition games. They started off their tour in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu and now they are in Palawan. This has given Coach Lawrence a lasting impression about Philippine basketball.

“The first thing that I always tell anybody about basketball in the Philippines is they’re very short but they can shoot. The form is unorthodox but it’s effective. The size is a challenge but the quality is there. It’s a fun brand of basketball here in the Philippines,” said the coach.

The Embrace and Reach Team has operated within the framework of using sports as a tool in its ministry. The team is composed of members who hail from different churches and denominations but are one in the Christian faith. They have made it a part of their goals to reach out to as many people they can in the world.

The 2-Day event shall culminate in an exhibition game between the Soldiers for Christ and our very own PSU Varsity Men’s Basketball Team.

(M. Villa-Agustin, 2015)