Golden State Warriors celebrate with Pinoys at the Filipino Heritage Night

Warrior players sporting the Filipino Heritage Night shirt

By Trina Soldedad

American Center of Philippine Arts
American Center of Philippine Arts
Kaela and Jackie - FilAm Warriors dancers
Kaela and Jackie – FilAm Warriors dancers
National anthem by Bantay Bata Children’s Choir
National anthem by Bantay Bata Children’s Choir
Pre-game tailgate party courtesy of Senor Sisig food truck
Pre-game tailgate party courtesy of Senor Sisig food truck

OAKLAND – The 2014 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors hosted Filipino Heritage Night, presented by Cache Creek Casino Resort, Sunday, November 13 against the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena. A portion of the proceeds from each Filipino Heritage Night event ticket sold will be donated back to support local Filipino organizations throughout the Bay Area.
The event included a Pre-game Tailgate Party at the Oracle Arena Parking Lot, featuring Filipino food trucks including Señor Sisig, Adorubowl, Jeepsilog and pop-up restaurant NIPA, entertainment by DJ Romeo. Fans also had a chance to have their photos taken with Stephen Curry’s two MVP trophies at the Parking Lot A of the Oracle Arena.

The National Anthem was sung by the Bantay Bata Voices With The Golden State Warriors Children’s Choir. The event also featured a Half-time cultural performance by American Center of Philippine Arts. The American Center for Philippine Arts stated, “We are so proud of our ACPA SEED youth who rocked it out at the halftime show earlier this evening at the Warriors Filipino American Heritage game at Oracle Arena! The youth performed Moro-Inspired dances from various tribes of Southern Philippines…”

During the half-time, the children of Chevron and Chevron Richmond employees got to go onto the court and shake hands with the team.

Per the 2010 United States Census, 382,950 Filipino-Americans are residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it one of the largest Filipino communities across the waters. In 2011, 9% of all Filipino immigrants to the United States reside in the San Francisco metropolitan area, and an additional 3% resided in the San Jose metropolitan area. Daly City, in the San Francisco Bay Area, has the highest concentration of Filipino Americans of any municipality in the United States; Filipino Americans comprise 35% of the city’s population.

Cheryl Quetingco of Daily City has been a season ticket holder for 11-years now. It started with her and her husband back in their college days and they kept going until their kids were born. Now, the couple take their kids to Warriors game with other family and friends too. “For Filipino Heritage month, we invited some family and friends. And turned into a bigger ordeal as more friends invited more people. We started with 25 and now it grew to 182.” According to Cheryl, “attending Filipino Heritage Night brings out the ‘Filipino Pride’, the kids get to see (traditional Filipino) dances they’ve never seen before and it’s just good to be surrounded with Filipinos.”

Sabrina Chaudry, Dance Director for the Golden State Warriors, is a mother of two who was a former SF 49ers Gold Rush Dancer. Born in the US but speaks both Tagalog and English. She said, “We are in the Bay Area. One of our biggest games is actually the Filipino Heritage Night. It’s all about embracing our culture and getting our fans excited. The whole Warriors organization does a really great job bringing gear that we give out during game days and bringing media, like you, to really get the communication out that the organization is prideful about having our Filipino community.””It’s really exciting to be here to be able to represent the Filipino-Americans in the diverse community of the Bay Area. This is my second season with the Warriors, and I’m proud to represent the Filipino community…” said Jackie, who is a member of the Warriors Cheerleading Squad. Kaela (who grew up in Los Angeles, California) echoed those sentiments saying,”I feel special being here, and that the contributions and achievements of our community are being appreciated. I feel important and proud to represent our rich Filipino heritage. It’s been an amazing journey, and I’m proud to be able to be here.”

And for the only Filipino-American hype man in the NBA, Franco Finn, says “…Filipino Heritage Month has been going on for 9 awesome years and seasons, bigger and better every year. And I have been here every year for 13 years so I have been here from the very start. And I gotta say that, the Filipinos and Filipino-Americans all across have made an impact in the NBA. And the players are wearing ‘it’. The Warriors are the first one to ever do that so represent!” The Golden State Warriors is the first NBA team to ever wear Pinoy-inspired shirts to celebrate Filipino Heritage.

For the second season across the NBA, the Warriors are celebrating Filipino heritage by wearing special edition Filipino Heritage Night shooting shirts before the game. Fans were able to purchase the shirts in the arena but fans around the world can get them at the Warriors website.

The Warriors defeated the Suns 133-120. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson led all scorers with 30 points apiece, while Kevin Durant wasn’t far behind with 29 of his own. With this win, the Warriors’ ended with a record of 8-2. They headed out on a four-game Eastern Conference road trip that week, won all games and improved their record to 12-2. The Dubs will play against LA Lakers at home on Wednesday – one day before Thanksgiving Day. (Photos by Jho Bule)