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The Forgotten Ones

December 22, 2010


It was recently brought to my attention that the Philippine Women’s Basketball Team Discovery Perlas, which recently (well, last October actually) won the championship in the 7th Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA), won the country’s first title in women’s basketball in 39 years. So if my math and knowledge of Philippine history serves me right, that was before former President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Wow. But what’s even more amazing is that it hardly caused a ripple in the country’s pop culture. And while I read about their success and despite being a self-confessed basketball junkie, I didn’t even post a single tweet about it. But there I was very keen in broadcasting my support on Facebook for the Azkals (Philippine Men’s Football Team) ever since they qualified for the AFF Suzuki Cup. Which begs the question, in this basketball-crazed country, “What’s up with that?”

I have no clue. Maybe it’s the lack of popularity of women’s basketball in general. Perhaps it’s because there was no TV broadcast of the games. In the face of their historical victory, I don’t think they made one TV appearance; the Azkals have been on every morning show and primetime news outfit (I think), and have been given a couple of heroes’ welcome, and massive celebrity treatment for reaching the semifinals. I’m sure the TV-friendly mugs of the Younghusband brothers and Neil Etheridge have a lot to do with that, but still.

Alright, I’m not pretending to have given Discovery Perlas their proper dues when they won. In fact, I only realized that the Philippine Women’s Basketball has endured through 39 title-less years from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Noli Eala’s tweet: Sad that r Women’s Natl bball team w/c won SEA title aftr 39 title-less yrs did not get the same attn that Azkals r rightfully getting now.”

So I guess this is an attempt to make amends for my negligence. Up next for Discovery Perlas is the FIBA-Asia Women’s Championship and the Southeast Asian Games in 2011 where they hope to ride the crest of their success while looking to add more ceiling to their team to attain similar success. The crew that won the SEABA title only had one player standing above six feet. They’re eyeing the naturalization of 6’3” Chinese Zheng Xiaojing to fill the gaping hole in their inside game.

The country needs to know about what it can celebrate as a nation. This administration’s penchant for incompetence (hostage crisis, failed tourism campaign, errors in the new peso bills, the judicial system) still has five more full years for us to withstand. I know the surveys say the people are content and approving of the current administration, but you know what they say about these surveys anyway. Oh, right, we’re talking about sports. Check out a few highlights from the girls below:

And here’s a short clip from their championship game against Thailand:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cassy Tioseco permalink
    September 4, 2011 10:01 am

    Hi Timothy! I just came across this post now and I would like to thank you for sharing your sentiments and speaking on our behalf. We truly appreciate your effort in trying to open the eyes of our fellow Filipinos. We can only hope there are people out there who are willing to listen. Thank you again.:)

    Cassy Tioseco
    Discovery Perlas ng Pilipinas

    • expatph permalink*
      September 28, 2011 10:21 am

      No worries. As a sports fan in general and a true basketball fan, it’s the least I can do.

      Keep up the good work, girls!

      – Timothy Jay

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