Red Elephant Group   29 August 2018

At WorldRemit we love to celebrate the people around the world who make a real difference to their communities and so often that starts with sport. The Sydney-based Homegrown Basketball Association is a shining example of one such group of people. What started as a community-based sporting organisation has grown to service basketball enthusiasts across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Drawing upon the Filipino all-consuming passion for basketball, the Homegrown Basketball Association aims to nurture Filipino/Australian talent to form strong relationships between the two countries.

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. 

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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.

Working with young players in the Philippines

In a unique training programme the Homegrown Basketball Association has secured exclusive rights to send Filipinos in Australia to the Philippines through NBTC. Those sent participate in the annual tournament. The championship is watched by thousands of scouts from various schools and colleges giving players have the opportunity to secure educational scholarships and play professionally.

Starting Homegrown Basketball and the Western Sydney Basketball Association have been my greatest achievements so far. Being able to send Filipino-Australian kids to the Philippines and set them up with scholarships is so rewarding,”  team manager Cromwell said. 

He adds

“More and more players are interested in playing in the Philippines - not only Filipinos. They now know what Philippine Basketball has to offer.”