Filipinos' passion for hoops seen in a new light after ‘Yolanda’ | Inquirer Sports
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Filipinos’ passion for hoops seen in a new light after ‘Yolanda’

/ 03:11 PM November 21, 2013

In this Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 photo, Typhoon Haiyan survivors play basketball in a destroyed neighborhood in Tacloban, Philippines. They found the hoop in the ruins of their obliterated neighborhood. They propped up the backboard with broken wood beams and rusty nails scavenged from vast mounds of storm-blasted homes. A crowd gathered around. And on one of the few stretches of road here that wasn’t overflowing with debris, they played basketball. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Not even a destructive typhoon could dampen the Filipinos’ unparalleled passion for basketball.

And even the biggest stars in basketball could not help but marvel at how the Filipinos are trying to recover from widespread devastation with the help of a ball and a make-shift hoop.

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A photo of typhoon “Yolanda” survivors playing street ball amid the rubble of what used to be their homes has gone viral on the Internet, touching even those who make a living out of basketball.

“One of the best photos taken in a long time,” said Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, as he posted that particular photo on Instagram.

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“Even through devastation in the Philippines #basketballneverstop #striveforgreatness.”

James visited the country earlier this year for the first time, and finally witnessed first hand how crazy the country is for the sport.

Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes was also moved by the powerful image and dedicated an inspired Facebook status for it.

“We all play this game of basketball for different reasons, but to see it as a form of healing in a time of need is the greatest reason I’ve seen yet,” Barnes ended his post.

Los Angeles’ center Pau Gasol, who pledged to donate $1,000 for every point he scores in Lakers game on Friday, said it was “just incredible” seeing the Filipinos still finding time to play basketball.

Help from athletes in the United States has been aplenty since the super typhoon struck nearly two weeks ago. The NBA and the NBPA has donated at least $500,000 for relief efforts.

The Heat’s Filipino-American coach Erik Spoelstra, meanwhile, said that he wasn’t surprised to see Filipinos finding solace in hoops.

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“It’s a religion,” he said in a story by Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel. “It’s everything. It’s the no. 1 passion of the country.”

RELATED STORIES:

Street ball lifts ‘Yolanda’ victims’ spirits

‘Yolanda’ death toll now over 4,000

‘Yolanda’ revives compensation row at UN climate talks

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TAGS: Basketball, Disasters, Haiyan, Lebron James, Sports, Supertyphoon Yolanda
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