Why Insist Basketball if You’re Short?

Basketball is our sport. It’s a Filipino thing. It’s in our DNA.

On paper, our national sport is Sepak Takraw — but let’s get serious… Have you ever played Sepak Takraw? Huh? Even once? No, right? See?

Now, on a quick 30 second research on how to spell “Sepak takraw,” I learned that Arnis replaced it as our national sport. Arnis is cool and all, but have you ever tried it? Probably not. Even if you have, chances are, you’re a better basketball player than you are an Arnis practitioner.


Now back to basketball. Like I said, it’s an Asian thing. When I see Asians in California, chances are, they watch NBA. But when you see other races (whites, blacks, Hispanics), you wouldn’t really know what sport they watch. (Most probably NFL)

But if you see a Filipino, yeah, that guy watches NBA.


Here’s the reality.

I love basketball. Being born in the Philippines, NBA is in my blood. But damn! I’ve never felt so short in my life! I’m 5’8, and I’m pretty happy with my height in the PH, but I’ve worked for so many companies my whole life (because I’m a quitter. I jump from one job to the next), and I (humbling-ly) got used to working with 6’3 to 6’7 people.

I mean, come on, there’s just so many of them here and they haven’t even played basketball their whole lives! It’s sacrilegious! Sheesh, in the PH, if you’re 6’5, a bunch of high school and college basketball coaches have already recruited you at some point in time.

But that’s life. It ain’t fair, but I got over it.


Back for more stories.

The first time we crashed a local high school gym in California, we went against these high school varsity kids for a friendly game. We were winning, of course. I was with my cousins, we were too good.

Then the coach arrived.

The coach got so pissed at his high school kids for loosing to beer bellied Filipinos — Then the REAL game began.

The point guard (a black kid), did the fastest crossover I have ever seen, dashed to the hoops — flew, and slammed the ball over my cousin. That point guard was 6’3, and was fast as hell.

Yeah, the real game started.

After a dozen more dunks (their center, a lanky 6’8 white kid), the game was over, reality set in, we went back to what we do best… grabbed a case of beer and watched NBA.

We never went back to that gym again.


Another cheezy part.

I’ve always wondered why basketball playing Filipinos (well, most that I know), only play on designated courts… with other Filipinos. And all the local Filipino leagues here have “height handicaps.”

Yep, seriously. A “height handicap.”

Geez. 6’1 is the maximum height in local Filipino leagues. If you’re 6’2, then you can’t join. Yep, I’m serious. That’s reality. So many Filipinos want to play in leagues, but (because of our nature, other Filipinos are sneaky, they want to win at all costs — they bring their tall black friends with them) they can’t handle it, so they they made a “handicapped league.”

They say, “Just to be fair, 6’1 is the maximum height. We don’t let people taller than that join.” :(


So yeah. We should really rethink our situation. I’m not trying to kill the basketball fun here. Basketball is still the most fun sport I’ve ever played. I’m just trying to reach out to people with real athletic dreams here.


Six years ago, my friend took me to a sports grill in greenbelt to watch the 2006 world cup. I was instantly captivated!

I used to think it boring because there’s only an average of one to two goals per game (Since we’re used to seeing hundreds of points combined scores per game in the NBA). But the exhilaration and celebration experienced in EACH goal is electrifying!

Each goal is celebrated! No matter how small or insignificant the game is. EACH and every single goal pumps adrenaline to the heart.


I’m not trying to invoke my taste in sports here, but for the dreamers, for the athletics, if you have a real athletic dream — go for one where you can make it big in.

If you are an average height-ed Filipino, it would take (probably) the heavens and Earth to make it big in the basketball world. After all (I’m not sure), but has a Filipino made it big so far in the NBA? Except of course, for the coach of the Heat. (He’s Filipino, right?)


I’m writing this now as I’m watching Barcelona going at it with Real Madrid. This is like the superbowl of soccer. All week long, this is what my Africans, Iraqis, Iranian, European, Mexican coworkers have been talking about. It’s all about soccer, soccer, soccer — you can’t miss it.

Lionel Messi is still the man, Ronaldo is catching up. I’ve noticed Messi, Hernandez, Iniesta and Cristiano aren’t that tall like Kobe and Lebron. But they are equally (or more) paid like them.

Now imagine what the world would be like if Messi was born a Filipino and played basketball instead? It would suck, wouldn’t it? We wouldn’t get to see arguably the best soccer player in our generation.


Chances are, if you’re an ordinary blogger like me, this wouldn’t apply to you. Keep playing basketball with your friends like me. It’s fun.

But for those with real sports dreams, to the Pacquiao’s and the Messi’s in the world — play something that accommodates your God-given talent. Trying to reach NBA stardom with a 5’6 frame would be really, really, really hard.

But do Soccer, boxing or MMA as a 5’6 guy, would be no problem.


You are Filipino. I believe in you. You are athletic (I’m jealous of you).

Keep living the dream. I wish for the day to see a “Pacquiao level” Filipino soccer player in the world. I wish to see a “Pacquiao level” superstar in the UFC.


I wish I’m athletic, but I’m not. I’m a beer drinker. So all I can do is wait. Wait for the day another Filipino world superstar emerges.

I believe in you. You We are Filipino. We are fast as hell, persistent as hell, tough as nails.

I’m trying to reach out to young world class Filipino athletes right now.

I will wait for the day when you break out of your cocoon, emerge to the world, raise hell, and finally… when all’s said and done — be declared as one of the world’s fiercest legendary athletes.



About Dave

You've been had. You've been blind. You've been asleep. You've been bound. You are a prisoner. Now wake up! Smell freedom! Engulf yourself in the beauty of nature! Be free! For the first time, stop listening to others and DO WHAT YOU WANT! Be free, my friend. Soar and be free.

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  • DreamBaller

    I agree in your opinion!… I’m a frustrated basketball player!… I really love the sport. I dream to be professional basketball player but genetics held me back. My height is only 5’6 which really short to compete with taller guys.
    But I hope someday basketball will revamp. What I mean is that there will categories in basketball like 5’11 below with a 9 feet rim so that they can dunk and those are 6 feet above will have the 10 ft rim or somewhat like that.

    • Dave

      There are local leagues here in california with a height handicap of 6’1″. Anybody taller than 6’1″ cant join :p
      not as fun, but works well for the filipino communities :)