Bob Cousy. Jerry West. Wilt Chamberlain. Larry Bird. Michael Jackson. Kobe Bryant. These people that I had mentioned were the players who inscribed their names in the history of basketball. Well, if you go to the Philippines, you might be shocked that they are equally popular in the archipelago. Now, what makes basketball popular in the Philippines anyway?
Probably, we can trace the history of the Philippines as to how basketball became popular in the Philippine Islands. It was during the early 1900’s when the islands became a territory of the United States. It was the Young Men’s Christian Association or YMCA that introduced the sport.
Later on, the Philippines dominated the basketball tournament in Asia, where the country won nine out of the possible ten championships. When basketball was introduced in the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, the Philippines sends a complete roster. They finished fifth in the said tournament, which was the best by any Asian country as of now.
After the second World War, the Philippine basketball team became champions in the Asian games. In 1954, the national team went on to finish third in the FIBA World Championships, which is the best finish by any Asian country. It was during Carlos Loyzaga’s era when the Philippines was the most feared basketball team in Asia. In the 1970’s and 80’s, professional basketball was born.
With a very rich history of basketball in the archipelago, it is of no doubt that this Western sport is still number one in the hearts of Filipinos. Several Filipino basketball legends like Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio and Jojo Lastimosa served as inspirations to the youth in the Philippines, through the sport that they became known.