The making of a Guinness Book world record
MANILA, Philippines — These hardy bunch of players took the cliché “Eat, Sleep and Breathe Basketball” to a whole new level.
Weathering strain and stress, illness and homesickness, the 24-man Philippine Basketball Marathon team logged a little more than 120 hours of continuous playing to etch their name in the record books for the longest basketball game ever played.
It was a daunting task. More than the test of physical, mental and emotional limits, there were strict guidelines just for the team to enter the record books.
But they achieved what they set out to do—breaking the old record by more than eight hours set by a basketball club in Missouri, while also setting a new scoring record for a basketball game. Team Bounce Back won over Team Walang Iwanan, 16,783-16,732.
“All the sacrifice was worth it,” said Physical Education teacher Maricar Convencido, the only female player in the team.
“I felt this was the peak in showing how much I was passionate about basketball and it’s also for a good cause,” added the 29-year-old Convencido, a member of an all-female basketball club that plays during weekends at University of the Philippines-Diliman.
“Our mantra was to prove that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. We made it a point not to pick professional players,” said lead organizer Jacque Ruby.
Forming the “Dream Team” tasked to make the almost unthinkable happen was a tremendous task in itself.
When Ruby’s group launched the campaign online through www.neverstop.ph, it immediately got traction with 330,000 inquiries from countries as far as Turkey.
The rigid screening process not only tested the players’ abilities physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
The intrepid group included three players from the team that set the record—Chuck William, Tony Tatar and Jeffrey Moore—since residency is not a requirement in setting the record. Players came from different backgrounds, but bonded by their love for the game. Some put work on the backseat just like dentist Larry Macapanpan, 44, a United Nations volunteer, who was coming off an assignment in Ethiopia and was actually getting ready for another tour of duty in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea.
“We saw a very determined group. We saw a lot of resolve from players,” said Ruby, who also tapped close to 100 support staff, including 40 referees for the game.
The strict guidelines—the application of Fiba rules, equipment and the conditions, such as no physical contact from family and friends, as well as the videotaping of the entire attempt—made the task doubly harder. Two sets of teams played on two-hour shifts for the duration of the attempt. “The first night was difficult because the body had to adjust to sleeping patterns,” said Ruby.
By Day 2, illness had struck the camp when Abraham Compuesto was dehydrated. Tatar also struggled to cope playing on the third death anniversary of his daughter. On the 86th hour, the team had set the scoring record, surpassing 11,806 points. The record was broken Friday night, and when the whistle blew at 9 a.m. on Saturday, the Philippines had set the new record.
It took three hours for the Guinness representative to confirm the record. “The feeling is amazing, something we as a country and as a team can always be proud of,” said Convencido.
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