By Angela Peacock
Three Tucumcari teens will make a two-day Greyhound bus trip to South Carolina, but not for vacation — for basketball.
Tim Roybal, Feliman Chavez and Justin Galvin qualified to play at the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball All-World Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Friday and Saturday, after taking first place during Tucumcari’s annual Gus Macker tournament this summer.
In 57 United States cities and in Canada more than 85,000 players participated in the 2003 Gus Macker tournaments, according to a tournament brochure.
The winning teams from each local tournament qualified to participate in the All-World Championship, which is separated into categories by age and gender with players ranging from 8 to 50 years old.
Don’t judge how another team is going to play simply by their appearance is an important lesson Galvin has learned throughout his years of playing basketball.
He and his teammates know physical appearances can be deceiving when judging how a team looks compared to their skills on the court.
“We want give this town a sense of pride,” Galvin said. “To show people that people from a small town can play ball too.”
The team agreed that shooting from the outside is their strong point. They understand that many of the teams they’ll play against will be bigger, stronger more experienced players, however Chavez and Roybal said with a little determination his team can be successful.
“Even when we’re outsized, or coming from behind you just have to suck it up and stick with it,” Roybal said.
Besides their championship victory at home the team placed third at another 3-on-3 tournament in Amarillo and took fifth at a similar competition in Albuquerque. Though the team didn’t take first at either tournament the experience they gained made participating well worth their effort.
“We’re going to try and play with the big boys. All the guys at this tournament are probably going to be a lot bigger and a lot older,” Roybal said. “We want to go to this tournament to show people where we are at on the map and what we can do being from a small town.”
The teens have been playing basketball together since the fifth grade, which they said has given an advantage on the court since they’ve grown to know each others style so well they trust each other enough to play ball without an specific game plan.
“We don’t even have to run plays. When we’re all playing together we just know each others game and go with it,” Roybal said.
All three teammates play varsity basketball for the Tucumcari Rattlers and plan to attend college after graduation. Larry Roybal and Joe Sisneros also qualified to compete at the national Gus Macker competition, however, they will not be competing at the tournament.