Nurturing Filipino talent in Australia
Homegrown Basketball Association team managers Cromwell Alvarez and Karlo Basa, along with coaches Roger Mantua and Rey Reculya are working to further develop the sport in Australia. They’re also playing an integral role in connecting players with professional teams in the Philippines.
“Basketball is a religion to most Filipino fanatics. Filipino Basketball is on the rise and the more exposure the Philippines gets on the international stage, the bigger Philippine Basketball will get," Cromwell said.
The Filipino love for basketball
The Filipinos’ love of basketball dates back to 1898 - when American colonists introduced the sport into the official school system. Fifteen years later, the sport grew tenfold culminating in a gold for Philippines in the 1913 Far Eastern Games.
Today, the sport continues to play a huge role in Pinoy sporting culture, thanks to its low-costs, basic maintenance and minimal space requirement. These factors make it the game of choice for many, particularly those living in the poverty-stricken regions of the Philippines.
“Its accessibility is a real key as to why so many Filipinos play basketball; it’s fast and entertaining, and easy to learn, but hard to master,” Cromwell explained.
Yet mastery of the sport can unlock doors to a wealth of opportunities. The National Basketball Training Centre (NBTC), the Philippines’ largest grassroots program, is working with children in more provinces across the Philippines. They’re working to level the playing field between players in urban and regional areas.