Flings are of two kinds, it might be a long-term relationship or a short hanky-panky, but it was a different story for basketball in the Philippines. The hidden mystery across boundaries was the secret love affair of basketball and the Filipinos. After the YMCA basketball club brought the sport to the country, basketball immediately garnered the wide imagination of the Filipinos, resulting to successful Asian tournaments and world cup appearances.
The Philippines went on to dominate the Asian level, paving the way to their third place finish on the 1954 FIBA World Cup, which also ranks as the highest finish by any Asian club in the world stage. Around the 70's, the country witnessed the emergence of two basketball leagues, gathering the best players all over the nation to compete against each other while entertaining a growing number of spectators.
After organizing the first play per pay league in Asia, the Philippines was given the opportunity to host the 1978 FIBA World Cup, but they failed to win a game, finishing eight in the tournament. Every relationship goes through tough times, and it was definitely hard for the Philippines to cope with other nations, missing the FIBA World Cup for almost three decades.
Despite a series of heartbreaks, the Filipinos have triumphed. The heartbreaks made them stronger, enough to get past the Asian level and display a heart-felt performance on the recently concluded FIBA World Cup.
As you walk through the streets of the Philippines, you can find a variety of young players clogging the lanes and fighting for every single loose ball. Sneakers don’t matter at all. You can play barefooted, and what's more surprising is their courage to play in the rain. The sport is everywhere, from rural spots to gritty urban places, showing the national obsession for basketball.
If you want to play basketball, just look for the nearest court within your designated street and be ready for some physical action. Philippines is widely known as warriors and, indeed, they are. The Filipinos are not shy of any contact and sometimes games turn ugly. Heavy rains won't hinder the will of playing the sport. It might be possible to postpone the elections for a while, especially if an NBA Finals game is going on.
In addition, some people find a way to escape from a hard day at work to look their favorite squads clash. The most romantic part about their relationship happened during Typhoon Haiyan, as a number of street kids were photographed playing basketball days after the disaster struck the nation.
It was unlikely to see these people playing the sport days after the typhoon. Despite the burden on their shoulders, they still find a way to enjoy and have a good time playing ball.
An Associated Press reporter made a moving realization on what he saw during Typhoon Haiyan quoting, “On one of the few stretches of road here that wasn’t overflowing with debris, they played basketball. I didn’t know what to think at first when I stumbled upon six teenagers shooting hoops over the weekend in a wrecked neighborhood of Tacloban, a city that Typhoon Haiyan reduced to rubble, bodies and uprooted trees when it slammed into the Philippines November 8. As a foreign correspondent working in the middle of a horrendous disaster zone, I didn’t expect to see people having a good time — or asking me to play ball. I was even more stunned when I learned that the basketball goal was one of the first things this neighborhood rebuilt. It took a moment for me to realize that it made all the sense in the world.”
These kids have the will to go on despite the hardships in life but unfortunately, not all are given the chance to show their talents in division one schools. Only a few can chase their dream because of series problems but mainly, its financial stuffs. It has been a lifetime dream for every Filipino to see one of their countrymen play for an NBA squad, but it hasn't happened yet.
Yes, there were a couple Filipino-Americans who suited up for an NBA team, but the country is longing for a pure-blooded countryman to represent the nation on the grandest stage of all.
Talent and heart are extremely undeniable for the Philippines, as they made waves all over the world, shocking the likes of Argentina and Greece. It was their height, though, as they failed to position themselves inside against the presence of taller defenders, settling for long three-point jumpers. You can't teach height, as they say, but what is amazing about the Filipinos is their fighting spirit and the will to win every single possession, giving the crowd goose bumps, which is highly unlikely for a certain competition.
Speaking of the crowd, Filipino basketball fans are probably the loudest and the most passionate spectators all over the world. Mess with one Filipino player in the web and you're done. The Filipino keyboard warriors will ruin your day, and what's amazing about them is they indeed work together as a team to thrash you.
It's a thing of beauty to see the Filipinos root for their favorite squads despite the odds against them. Two years ago, the Philippines broke the curse of South Korea after heartbreaking defeats in the past. This victory alone energized the fans and is still remembered today as the greatest triumph in Philippine basketball history.
It was a historic moment for Philippine hoops, as they not only secured a spot in the World Cup, but also proved to the world that David can bring Goliath to its feet. Basketball is not just a past time for the Filipinos, but it is also signifies their dedication to fight against insurmountable odds and the importance of working together in order to reach and achieve new goals in life.
Although the dedication hasn't translated to victories, the love for the game has reaffirmed on the hearts of the Filipinos, inspiring them to do their best on whichever field they are working on. Love affairs have limitations, but the relationship between basketball and Philippines is unbounded.