Filipinos are relatively sports loving people. And what better way for a foreigner to show their respect is by showing interest in their host’s favorite pastime.
When Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match, there is no crime on the streets. The soldiers and rebels are on a ceasefire and watch the boob tube instead of exchanging bullets.
When Gilas Pilipinas, national basketball team, competes internationally for the country Filipinos cheer on every play as the players show their “puso,” enthusiasm, against their rivals in the hard court.
Enjoy the moment and experience the thrill of Filipinos showing their grit as they compete in the sport that they love.
If you are in a basketball-crazy country like the Philippines you will notice a hoop is installed on every street that you pass. Filipinos even use the streets as a venue for basketball tournaments, very inconvenient at times but that is how it is. And when there is a championship game, people are tuned to the idiot box enjoying every minute. Ask anything about the game and you’re sure to have an answer that will fit your question.
This can be traced back to the accolades brought home by basketball legends Caloy Loyzaga, Larry Mumar, et al. and the baton was passed to the present cream of the crop such as June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Calvin Abueva, and more. Who wouldn’t be crazy with the heroics of these players having succeeded in bringing home the bacon in the Asian Games and FIBA Asia Championship and finishing prominently in the Olympic Games.
Surely, our basketball warriors will give NBA superstars Le Bron James, James Harden, and Steph Curry a run for their money in any basketball arena.
Through the concerted effort of schools, sponsors, and media coverage the sport is striking the fancy of many Filipinos. The fan base had grown by leaps and bounds primarily due to the promotion of collegiate sports organizations that includes University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and National College Athletic Association (NCAA).
Volleyball players are given the international exposure by representing the country in tournaments like the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) and the Asian Games. Local players are hired by foreign teams as an imported player in their roster.
Boxing is another sport that Filipinos love. Remember “Thrilla in Manila” which Muhammad Ali won via technical knockout (TKO) when Joe Frazier’s corner decided not to answer the bell in the 15th round. The bout is consistently ranked as one of the best in sports history.
Think of our boxing hero Manny Pacquiao who is the only eight-division world champion in the history of the sport, placed the Philippines in the boxing map. Other boxing icons who made the Filipinos proud were Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, and Cefering Garcia.
Currently, we have 2 world boxing champions in Reymart Gaballo, WBA bantamweight (118/lb53.5 kg) and Jerwin Ancajas IBF Super flyweight (115 lb/52.2 kg).
You can find billiard halls almost anywhere in the Philippines. Billiards is an addicting game especially if you can control the cueball, place it near the object balls and shoot these in the pocket. Easier said than done, it takes years of playing and patience before you can master the game.
In the Philippines when you mention the word billiards what comes to mind are the names of Efren (Bata) Reyes, Francisco (Django) Bustamante, Warren Kiamco, Dennis Orcollo, and Carlo Biado.
The Filipino cue artists have won almost all of the prestigious international billiards tournament earning the respect and admiration of the sporting public.
We have Eugene Torre who became Asia’s first Grandmaster when he finished second in the 1974 Chess Olympiad in Nice, France. In a 1976 tournament in Manila, he beat the reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov which earned a spot in the Philippines’s chess history.
And there is Wesley So who at age 14 became a grandmaster, earning him the prestige of becoming the ninth-youngest player in the world. A few years later he sky-rocketed to super-GM status and is now the No. 2 -ranked chess player in the world. With an ELO rating of over 2800, he joins the elite 12 that have reached this level. Unfortunately, he switched his allegiance, he now represents the USA in tournaments which is another story to tell.
However, there is a waning interest in the sport that can be alleviated with the support of the government and private groups or individuals. Young players will become stronger if they are given international exposure and hopefully, their talent will not be wasted.
We hope you had a fun time reading our sports article, we would love hearing from you by commenting below.
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