ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
It happens all the time. Almost anywhere in the world and for that matter, where you find Filipinos settling in. It is a phenomena that has to do with something round, boun cy and passed around often. No, we’re not talking about making babies here, but we’d say even that comes in as a close second on the priority list.
Bring together five Filipino families in any suburb of a metropolitan city and you have the makings of a new basketball team in that community. Multiply that over into other surrounding suburbs in the area and you have a local league. Then, expand that to a number of other cities in the same country and you have a national association. It hardly ever fails to happen.
Of all team sports, the closest to the pulsing hearts of Filipinos, we’d have to admit, is the sport of Basketball – be it pro basketball, amateur basketball, colle giate sports basketball, 3-on-3 basketball, street-corner basketball, “piso-piso” betting on made shots, betting on the last-two numbers of the final score “end ing”, and so on. Name it and Filipinos will play, watch, or bet on it.
On the surface of this behaviour, there aren’t any logical reasons for it. For one, Filipinos are comparatively shorter, built smaller, finely boned and lighter. Then, back in the Philippines, the national basketball team has turned in me diocre performances for one whole generation now and there hasn’t been a single player ever to play or ever legitimately considered to play in the NBA or any same-caliber league in the world. Well, at least not yet.
Watch The Video
So where and how did this Filipino love affair with basketball come from and about?
‘THEIR EYE ON DA BALL’
At one time, basketball was a sport that Filipinos we’re once exceptionally good at. You could say that they ‘kept their eye on da ball’. They dominated the Asian scene for many years and were looked up by other Asian countries in the region as ‘the team’ to beat. By the mid 20th century Filipino national teams launched to compete were considered tough contenders in the world stage. They even managed to finish with a bronze medal in a world championship played in Brazil during the 1950’s. They were among the best of the best. Then, something changed all that over the next 30-years.
A story that has done its rounds goes something like this: that when in the 1960s God showered the Earth with the gift of “height” through better diets Juan Dela Cruz was in his bedroom sleeping. He was also too tired from hustling ball up and down the court the previous day when God also gave away “speed”. Still, if there were a 5’11” and under league, we’d be willing to bet a tidy sum of money that the Philippines would be among the world’s best because the innate talents of some of our players like Allan ‘The Triggerman’ Caidic are still very much around. But that’s how the proverbial ball bounces!
View The Comparative Stats
Larry Bird’s Career Stats
Allan Caidic’s Career Stats
P: 649/1727= 37.6%
FT: 3960/4471= 88.6%
P: 1242/3375= 36.8%
FT: 1835/2108= 87%
Hope Our Love Lasts And Never Dies.
Even if the American’s first taught Filipinos the game of baseball, it didn’t catch on as basketball did largely because of the warm tropical weather the Philippine islands enjoy some eight months of the year. With basketball, however, playing courts are mostly roofed and family members and fans that watch comfortably on the sidelines do so without suffering the sun. For this one reason perhaps, basketball caught on in our culture making it what it is today.
Then of course, there’s just something about that sharp and abrupt whooshing sound when the ball hits nothing but the bottom of the net; the intensity of a sold-out basketball arena with horns a-tooting and drums a-rolling; and, the pressure of shooting the last shot with 2-seconds left on the clock when your favourite team lags behind on the score board by that same number. All that is probably what’s gotten Filipinos hooked worse than a sugar junkie locked inside a candy store. Somehow, even the lack of height, speed and size these days haven’t stopped Filipinos from pursuing and dreaming big in the sport they’ve fallen behind on but head over heels with.
But because there are now something like 12-milion Filipinos spread out all over and living in some 160 countries around the world, they’ve been changing their culture as fast as changing their TV channels and profile pictures on Facebook. If you analyze the global Filipino culture – and lest we forget, it includes that of the home country as well, the reality has squarely sunk in that basketball is a game of giants in which most Filipinos can’t really compete against. Having said that, Filipinos probably might have a brighter future competing in other types of football sports like soccer or even rugby both which are today equally “sports of the world”.
But with all that said, the Filipino’s love for basketball still lasts and apparently never dies.
Today, even here in Christchurch, Filipino-Kiwis in the area have an active basketball club the Pinoy Cantabrians Sports Club that manages to host a website containing playing schedules, photo gallery and some video uploaded on You Tube. Of course, not to be outdone are their active counterparts in Wellington – the Wellington Filipino Sports Association on Facebook; and, Auckland – with the website of Basketball sa Auckland.
See what we mean?