#5 Welcome to the land of basketball

A slogan most often attributed to Serbia and Lithuania. However, to be honest, in the far East, there is a country that lives for basketball even more than the two mentioned countries. 🏀

The Philippines, a scattered archipelago in Southeast Asia, with a heart that beats non-stop for the game under the hoops. Ever since Americans introduced the essence of this game as colonizers in 1898, the local population became enchanted. Many wonder why basketball in particular.

Perhaps the foremost factor is the element of fun, dynamism, and speed, which resonates with the Filipino character. Another point is the ability to play basketball in all sorts of conditions, which is especially crucial for a country with prevalent poverty. The game is played everywhere – on the streets, in sand, in mud, and even in water, often on improvised hoops.

They take pride in the bronze medal won at the 1954 World Cup in Brazil and are definitely looking forward to hosting this year’s event. They’ve already proven to be great hosts once before in 1978. Names like Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, or June Mar Fajardo might not be well-known to the broader public, but they are aces that Filipinos elevate to the status of stars and legends of Filipino basketball. More recognizable are NBA players Andray Blatche and Jordan Clarkson, who will be leading the national team this year. Enough to ignite the already fervent atmosphere among the hosts.

After the USA and China, the Philippines has the world’s third-largest basketball market. The Philippine government is known for being unafraid to move elections if they coincide with the NBA finals.

Challenges such as poverty or weather disturbances are not an issue. Just don’t take the basketball away from them. That’s why Filipinos can rightfully say, “Welcome to the land of basketball”🏀


written by: Mladen Radosavljevic