Basketball is like a religion for us Filipino’s, it is our national past time, we breathe, eat and live basketball.
For other nation specially other continents aside from Asia, for the past years or decades it was a mystery for them how a 3rd world country with an average size of 5’4 be obsess with a sport were height is everything, I am sure some would just smirked or laugh with that though in mind. It’s absurd isn’t it?
As they say to see is to believe. Foreign teams, players or media people at first didn’t believe it, up until they land their feet into Philippine soil. First hand they will experience the euphoria of how much basketball crazy we are.
With the age of social network, the legend or mystery of make shift basketball courts in every corner of the streets, kids and all ages playing in their tsinelas (sandals) or barefooted in asphalted or muddy roads are all now unveiled for the whole world to see. Even typhoons and flooded streets can’t stop us from playing basketball, now beat that!
A Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game that includes a Barangay Ginebra (most popular basketball team in the Philippines) against any team can easily fill a basketball gymnasium with a capacity of 20,000 crowd. A basketball match between rival collegiate schools the Ateneo De Manila University blue eagles and the De La Salle University green archers will blow up social media and forums with tweets, updates and messages from fans for both teams, may it be in support or just purely bashing or trash talking.
These past few years our basketball federation are actively participating in international tournaments from different age categories. Our love for the game is well known in Asia and now with us qualifying in the world tournament, a first in more than 35 years the world now can see first- hand our brand of play and our passion for the sport.
Two weeks ago our Batang Gilas Pilipinas under-17 team debuted for the world to see, yet under size (the smallest team in that tournament) our boys showed our fighting heart and passion for the game, we only won one game in that tournament but we earn the respect of other nation by competing non- stop despite our disadvantages. Most especially Filipino’s in Dubai (host country) flock the gym whenever our boys played, cheered for the team win or loss non-stop. It was like we are playing in our own backyard, to the amazement of the international basketball community.
Our under-18 team, who played in the FIBA Asia under-18 tournament in Qatar, experienced the same thing. We always have our six men in the team, the Filipino fans!
The world witnessed our passion for the game when we hosted the FIBA Asia qualifiers last year. The passion and love for the game of the players and the fans were truly felt even on screen. Our Gilas Pilipinas national team placed 2nd in that tournament and qualified for the FIBA world cup that will start tomorrow.
In preparation the Gilas Pilipinas played several tune-up matches against other nation. Even in these exhibition games Filipino’s abroad troops in the venue and cheered crazily. International media are now aware of our passion for the sports and now are headlining in international newspapers, blogs and websites. Again it’s just an exhibition game, what more in actual games.
Gilas Pilipinas tune-up games
Tomorrow we will see action against the best in the world in terms of basketball, we may not win a single game and will be blown out by a huge margin but everyone will now agree and will witness that we Filipino’s are the greatest and craziest basketball fans in the worlds.
Truly Basketball never stops here in the Philippines.