Story by Chetskyman / Photos by Alan M.
The Golden State Warriors welcomed the Milwaukee Bucks in Oakland last March 18. Filipinos from all over the Bay area flocked into the Oracle arena to see their favorite basketball team as well as to celebrate Filipino Heritage Night. What seemed to be just another evening of basketball turned into something more special and memorable.
Th evening began with a press conference of former Warrior guard Raymond Townsend. He is the first Filipino-American ever to play in the NBA. He was later joined by Warrior Chief Marketing Officer, Chip Bowers, on the podium in welcoming all the Filipinos in attendance.
Townsend is very proud of his Filipino roots. He expressed his interest in helping and developing aspiring Filipino basketball players in trying to make it to the NBA. Townsend, whose mother is from Balayan, Batangas, has visited the Philippines quite often in the past. He has seen and is aware of the potential and capabilities of Filipinos when it comes to basketball.
No less than Martin Nievera, the Philippine Concert King himself, and one of a handful of truly talented performers of the Philippines, represented the Filipinos at the start of the game when he sang his own rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. He drew loud awes and cheers from the mixed crowd specially those who didn’t know him.
The game started out slow for the Warriors. Falling behind quick in the beginning of the first quarter. The Bucks seemed to have more energy and determination. However, coach Steve Kerr, realizing the lackluster plays of his team, called a quick timeout to settle his team down and regroup. Slowly but surely, the Warriors started inching in and finally taking the lead before the quarter ended.
During a timeout in the second quarter, the Warriors presented State Assembly member Rob Bonta with a plaque of appreciation recognizing his dedication in supporting the social services program provided by ABS CBN’s Bantay Bata. Assembly member Rob Bonta is a Filipino-American, born in the Philippines, who graduated at Yale University and is a Democrat who represents the 18th Assembly District at the California State Assembly.
The game then ensued in seemingly Warrior fashion. Steph Curry got his game back, Matt Barnes added physicality to the game, Klay was his usual self, and everything just went the Warrior’s way. Halftime score was 63-44 in favor of the Warriors.
At halftime, the crowd at the Oracle were treated to a little bit of Philippine history when the Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble performed Vinta Voyage from the South Philippines.
The Warriors continued the second half the same way they ended the first. Playing the game close to perfection. Leaving the Milwaukee Bucks clueless as to what hit them. Final score was Warriors 117 Bucks 92. A triple blowout on the night Filipino heritage was celebrated.
Filam Star would like to thank Massimo Degaudenzi and Kathy Agustin of the Warrior organization and Al Perez of FAAE for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this prestigious evening.