Everybody’s got one, that one team you’d yell your hearts out for, the one team that makes your day when they win, the one team that makes you cry like a juvenile when they lose. Heck, some of us even have one such team for every basketball league we keep tabs on!
Here are my picks:
I live in a basketball crazy family. (That family is composed of two guys — me and my dad). Reared up to be a Purefoods fan since childhood, I grew up watching the Captain Alvin Patrimonio, the Defense Minister Jerry Codinera, and their reliable cast rack up the titles and individual awards.
I watched them evolve from the TJ Hotdogs, to the Coney Island Ice Cream Stars, to the Corned Beef Cowboys, to the Carne Norte Beefies, and to the present Chunkee Giants. Of all the Purefoods’ imports, these are the names I can easily remember — Redfield, Thirdkill, Taylor, Elisma, Wood, Cooke, and the magical Derrick Brown.
Currently, I’m still exuberant over their recent Philippine Cup championship, and the fact that their future looks bright with James Yap, Kerby Raymundo, and Marc Pingris heading the pack.
Two words: Chicago Bulls. Call me stereotypical, but as a child I idolized His Airness. Because my dad is a Knicks fan, we’d always get into arguments during the Bull’s glory years, as NY was one of their perennial rivals for the Eastern Conference crown.
The rebuilding years were painful, but with the Bulls making the playoffs recently, this kid is a happy man again. Go Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, Kirk Hinrich, Andres Nocioni, Luol Deng, and the rest of the Bulls!
[Current team that’s also close to the heart: Miami Heat (or any team that will have Dwyane Wade on it)]
I recently graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman, which makes my fave collegiate team fairly obvious. I’m a true blue Maroon (what a clash of colors). Though UP hasn’t really made an impact in the league these past five years, I’m quite happy with the current young and extremely talented roster eager to wage war in the next three years.
Want shooters? There’s Migs de Asis and Caidic-like Martin Reyes for you. Want a versatile four who can bang bodies inside, shoot the trey, and posseses quite an array of inside moves? Woody Co is your man. Want another forward who cleans the boards well, finishes a drive quite perfectly, and has an outside shot as well? That’s VJ Serios, billed by commentators as an anchor for the next UP campaigns. And finally, if and when 6’7″ Pangasinense Magi Sison becomes a serious inside threat, then the Fighting Maroons might just make it to the final dance again.
Their current lineup is unbelievable — I believe they’re a well-balanced team prime for a title. Sure, Sam Ekwe is great, but people tend to forget that Aljamal and Escobal are also playing spectacular ball. And there have even been times that Maggay (the back-up center) plays better than the Nigerian behemoth. But still, let’s admit — SBC would be a lot weaker without Ekwe. That’s why I am an Ekwe fan, too!
The now-defunct MBA. You’ve forgotten the name? The Metropolitan Basketball Association was an erstwhile rival to the PBA, and in its first few years it generated a lot of excitement in the archipelago. I was one of those peeps who were thrilled by the new league. And the team I rooted for was the Manila Metrostars. (Fellow Bisayans, don’t nail me to the cross for this — I was born and raised here in the Metro. Probably if there was an Aklan squad…)
I consider myself to be a pseudo-Hellenist, a lover of ancient Greek culture. I guess this has somehow rubbed off onto my passion for basketball. Ever since they won the European championships, I’ve been a fan of the Hellas basketball team. Even if they recently lost to the Spaniards in the FIBA finals, Greece remains the apple of my eye in international ball.
[If the Philippine national team was actively participating in FIBA-sanctioned events instead of being banned all along, this would be a different article…well, with the ban just lifted, let’s see how far we can go.]
So, there you have it. How about your favorite basketball squads? Do let us hear about them.