“Basketball will always be the country’s one great unrequited love.”
– PBA: A Nation’s Passion Documentary
It was an affair for the books and a night to remember filled glittering lights, beautiful dresses, and dapper suits. Filipino basketball stars then and now all came together (along with their significant others) to celebrate forty years of the nation’s greatest passion: the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The highlight of the night was the exclusive premiere of the league’s very own documentary highlighting forty years of stories from how it started, the famed Crispa – Toyota rivalry to today’s Gilas heroes. The well-crafted storytelling of the country’s biggest pastime brought about tales from one generation to the next, making one see the impact basketball has truly imprinted in every Filipino’s heart. Basketball is a language everyone understands- from bigwig CEOs of multinational companies to your neighborhood taho vendor. It’s a common ground, one that instantly bonds one Filipino with the other, unless of course he is rooting for a rival team. It has also be the country’s greatest source of enjoyment. During the years of martial law, the then young PBA league was a source of joy for most Filipinos proving that it is more than just a sport, but have also been a mecca for hope as the high flying players inspired others to fly themselves.
More than a night of enjoyment and catching up with friends both old and new alike, the night was extremely person for me simply because it mirrored a journey that is close to my heart – my dad’s. As the stories unraveled on screen, the childhood stories of my youth told by my dad turned into real faces and events. It was the PBA that has made my dad’s dream come true and later on gave him the opportunity to build a life for his family that was a far cry from what he had as a young boy in Cebu.
As my dad watched the reel of his real life events, he became keenly aware of how gracious God has been to him and what a blessing the PBA has been to not just him, but to the others he has worked with. He reminisced about old teammates, coaches, team managers, and previous league commissioners, all of which have helped him one way or another. He was also quick to recall the unsung heroes of the PBA, the role players and the others who have worked tirelessly in the background contributing what they can to the country’s greatest love.
The PBA (through its scholarship grant given to retired PBA players) gave my younger brother and I the chance to have a good education. It was also the PBA that has opened doors for the both of us, put food on the table, and generally provided us with a life that my dad only once imagined giving his family. For 35 years and counting, the PBA has become my dad’s second home.
And our story is not unique, in fact, countless of lives have been changed by the PBA and today, as a certified child of the league; I would just like to say thank you.
Thank you because you have provided for numerous families, made fans smile and cry at the same time, and most importantly, made countless dreams come true.
Maraming maraming salamat PBA dahil ang buong bansa ay pinasaya ninyo.