It’s rare that you’ll find a relationship between a sport and its players that is as deeply rooted and dynamic as the one between Filipinos and basketball. With countless venues to play all over the Philippines – from the most extravagant fitness center to the most run-down, generations-old covered court outside your local barangay – the sport is practically integral to our culture as a nation.
Anyone who’s played or even just watched a basketball game can see why Filipinos enjoy it. But what is it about Filipinos that make them good at the game? We sat down with director and co-founder of Filipino Basketball Academy, Coach Bernard Barcenilla, to find out.
Right off the bat, Coach Bernard shares that the FBA was created for the very purpose of enhancing the abilities that make Filipino players unique. These abilities include speed, athleticism, strength and physicality. Filipinos are very quick, and from the moment they step onto the court their passion for the game shines through. They are strong, have an excellent ability to jump, and are very physical, which helps greatly in the game.
While admittedly their biggest disadvantage compared to other players is their lack of height, Coach Bernard says this should never stop a player, since utilizing all your skills, studying the gameplay and fully putting your heart into the game will more than make up for that obstacle.
While physical abilities are one thing, personality is another. Fortunately, Filipino basketballers have much of both. When he meets new players, before anything else, Coach Bernard looks for an ability to listen and an eagerness and desire to improve. In training, he then asks for commitment and consistency from his players, and wills them to take the game seriously, because anyone dead set on improving undoubtedly will. This works for Filipinos, who have always been very dedicated to and passionate about the hobbies and lifestyles they enjoy doing.
Photo from Coach Bernard
If Coach Bernard has one piece of advice to give to Filipino basketballers, it’s to work hard. Be committed and put diligent time into your game, because there’s no secret to getting results beyond working for the prize.
Filipinos can be great basketball players – just look at our local teams – because they have the skill, the drive, and most importantly, the love for the game.