Three players in Singapore’s squad in the SEABA Under-16 Championship have come home to play in their native land.
Reuben Amado, David Macaraig Chuabio, and Jack Lacsado, all 15-years-old, were wearing the white and red of Singapore on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Up against their kababayans, the three combined for eight points, five rebounds, and four assists in a losing effort.
Batang Gilas mentor Mike Oliver said there were telltale signs of Filipino basketball in the games of the three. As he put it, “Makikita mo yung confidence sa laro nila. Alam mo naman, yung mga Pilipino, kahit saan mapunta, never say die yung attitude nila.”
Amado was born in Dasmarinas, Cavite while Lacsado hails from Taguig. The two of them, and Chuabio, have Filipino parents.
While they were at the opposite side of the court, Oliver said he and the rest of the Philippine team were nothing but glad to see the three of them in action. “Masaya tayo kasi, at least, nare-recognize ng iba yung talent ng Filipinos. Happy tayo for them kasi nakaka-represent sila sa other countries,” he said.
He then continued, “Masayang-masaya tayo especially for the (Filipino) communities na nandoon.”
For Singapore coach Hwee Liak Wong, however, there are no distinctions in his squad. “For me, we are all Singaporeans,” he quipped.
Still, Amado was not about to hide the fact that playing in the Philippines is special for him. “It’s an honor. It’s an honor to play here,” he expressed.
He then continued, “I was born here, but I am a Singaporean citizen. Both my parents are Filipino so it’s an honor to play here.”
As it turns out, it was Amado’s father who introduced him to the sport beloved in his native land. “When I was in the Philippines, I always play in the outside courts,” he shared.
Amado, the two other players with Filipino blood, and the rest of Singapore will continue to play in the country’s most historic sporting venue for the next four days. Up next for them is a matchup with Malaysia (1-0) on Tuesday.
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