Photos by Gary de Guzman
The first Golden State Warriors Filipino Heritage Night at the new Warriors home at the Chase Center in San Francisco got off to a good start with many Filipinos going out to support the Warriors as they usually do even as the chips seem to be down for the team at the moment with many star players sidelined with injuries.
But even as the Warriors are now in housed in a new venue, the passion and intensity that Filipino diehard fans had for them has not waned on the outdoor tailgate like the ones they had at Oracle Arena in Oakland this time at the Thrive City Plaza with a celebration of Filipino culture including food trucks, face painters, balloon artists, music mix by DJ Umami, and a Tanduay Rum booth.
There is also the booth of Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) headed by President Al Perez who felt great to be with the Warriors at their new home which would expectedly also be the venue of many more Filipino Heritage Night.
“Hopefully we can expand and use this venue for other Filipino cultural events. It feels good to share and show out Pinoy pride,” Perez beams. “Inside is Sarap Shop, a new food concessionaire that offers Filipino food right inside the venue. It is a great step forward for us to be able now share Filipino cuisine to all the Warriors fans not just on heritage nights but on every game night.”
Perennial Filipina music mixer DJ Umami who was responsible in sustaining the energy and excitement of basketball enthusiasts right at the entrance to the venue and who feel honored doing so especially on Filipino Heritage Night observed that the energy at the new arena is equal if not better in a new venue that is incredibly beautiful.
“Since we are closer to Daly City I feel that there are more Filipinos coming out although the coming games will be a building healing time when we have just to readjust to the venue and get all of our players healthy again. It is also a good chance for the real Warriors fans to come back. The bandwagon fans are going to take off but the real Warrior fans could come and rebuild that Warriors culture. We are going to come back and come back strong once those players are fully recovered,” DJ Umami believes.
Inside the Chase Center, there was a pregame culturally-rich entertainment performance dubbed Bailes de las Flores by Sole Twister Entertainment Dance Academy and the singing of the United States National Anthem by Bantay Bata Voices Choir. A colorful halftime performance was provided by LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble and LIKHA School of Dance performing Kalilang and Kuntao Kabkab.
Also at halftime, United Playaz executive director Rudy Corpuz was awarded by Warriors Filipina Chief Finance Officer Jennifer Cabalquinto a certificate for excellence in support of the Bay Area community.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized as a community ambassador for the Filipino heritage night here at the Chase Center, the new Warriors stadium at south of Market where I grew up through all those – drugs, gang, violence – years and be able to represent our community and our people,” Corpuz uttered..
Seen at the hallway of the venue were the Cortes and Denina families who came full force to lend support for their favorite team and the Filipino Heritage Night.
Dad Jem Cortes shared that this was their fourth year in attending the Filipino Heritage Night as a family and it is something that they intend to always do not just to support the Warriors but also be proud of the Filipino heritage.
“In bringing my kids here I want to impart to them our history and what our parents went through. It is important for them to know that,” Cortes disclosed.
Brian Denina, who also brought along wife Joy and son Baden, joined Jem Cortes in praising the Warriors organization in celebrating the Filipino Heritage Night
“We come here during the Filipino Heritage Night and bring the family including the kids for them to be exposed in support of our heritage,” Brian claimed. .
Wife Joy added that it is their fourth time to attend the heritage night with her siblings and their kids and loves that, in doing so, they represent the Filipino community together in a great bonding experience.