Kiwi-Pinoys torn between PH, NZ fives | Inquirer Sports

Kiwi-Pinoys torn between PH, NZ fives

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 11:43 PM July 06, 2016

JUST before midnight on Tuesday, a couple of mestizo, middle-aged Filipinos stepped off the parking-lot elevator together with two local reporters who covered the first day of the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Overhearing talk about Gilas Pilipinas’ losing stand against France, one of them, in fluent Filipino, boldly declared from behind the reporters: “Don’t worry, we have a strong chance against New Zealand.”

In white shirts with the word “Pilipinas” proudly emblazoned on them, the mestizo duo quickly explained how they came up with such a statement.

“We’re from New Zealand. We just came here to watch Gilas,” said Marben Ruedas, who left the country in 1986. “We went together with eight Kiwis, who made the trip to support the Tall Blacks.”

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Third Pacia, who migrated in 1997, said basketball back in New Zealand is enjoying a boom because of Steven Adams, who plays for the Oklahoma Thunder in the NBA.

“Otherwise, rugby is still No. 1 there,” Pacia said.

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As in all Fiba-run events, security is very tight in and around the Mall of Asia Arena.

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Barriers have been put in place with dozens of security personnel manning them. The setup makes it virtually impossible for the ordinary fan to come close to their Filipino basketball idols, much less the foreign superstars.

A security cordon is thrown around a player whenever he exits the venue, making sure that he goes straight to the team bus and making encounters with fans virtually impossible. Some mediamen—closet fans—are luckier than most, though. They manage to have selfies with their favorite foreign players before doing an interview.

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TAGS: Basketball, Gilas Pilipinas, Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament

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