“GAME 7!” – the driver announced as he picked up passengers from the bus stop while pumping up the volume of the television. Welcome to the Philippines, where the NBA Finals live telecast is more important than your destination.
Can you imagine going to work on a Monday morning and arriving early because traffic was strangely moderate? And say you come in late – chances are, no one would have noticed because half the office (boss included) were huddled around a television or somebody’s computer monitor streaming the game. Such was the case for yesterday’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals, which even saw some employees skip work altogether, lest they miss even a minute of the hardcourt action. Truly, no matter which side they were on or where they were, Filipino fans were on the edges of their seats until the final buzzer.
Online, the Philippines lived up to its reputation as the “social media capital of the world”, beating out the likes of China and the US in posting about the game. On that day, traditionally dominant topics like #GameofThrones and #AlDub gave way to hashtags such as #Cavs, #StrengthInNumbers, and #DubNation, with #NBAFinals as the second most trending hashtag in the Philippines for four hours.
Even celebrities got in on the action, with everyone from Christian Bautista to PBA legend Jeff Cariaso giving respect where it was due when all was said and done.
With Pinoys still on a basketball high, the country now has the start of the FIBA 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers to look forward to on July 5, with the Philippines facing off against France. As Filipinos prepare once more to cheer for their heroes, the intensity will be of a different flavor, as these will be our ballers, playing on their homecourt.
Regardless of who our national team goes up against, the Philippines will once again show the world just how much we love our basketball.