Pinoy Streetball

In the century since basketball was introduced to the Filipinos, we’ve made it a game of our own.

Cover Image: From sunrise until sunset, basketball is played on different courts in every corner of the country. (iluvbasketball.wordpress.com)

Filipinos are 24/7 basketball. Whether they are playing on the global stage or on muddy streets, they play with all their heart with every beat being echoed by the sound of the bouncing ball. It was a love story between man and sport that started more than a century ago, and through the glory and heartbreaks, their story continues.

But what is it like to play basketball in Philippine streets? playPH takes a look at some of the twists Filipinos have added to the game.

BENTE UNO

Filipinos welcome anyone and everyone to play their beloved game. However, with so many players waiting to get their turn to play on the court, local ballers have found ways to shorten games and still keep things competitive.

In Bente Uno, every shot made counts as 1 point. Usually played in a half-court setting, both teams race to be the first to score 21 points. It’s a simple game, but it’s one that is fun, fast-paced, and at the same time, gives many players a chance to play.

LUSOT TALO

One of the other things Filipinos are known for is their humor. It’s not really surprising how they are able to inject this with playing the sport that they love and this is in full display through Lusot Talo.

Lusot Talo is not really a game in the mold of Bente Uno, but it’s a game of consequence where the losing team must crawl on the ground between the legs of the winners. It may not sound much but for the proud and competitive Filipinos, it adds to the competitiveness, excitement, and fun of the game.

PLAY ON

Back when Typhoon Haiyan left a trail of destruction in the city of Tacloban, an Associated Press reporter Todd Pittman was quoted about his experience of stumbling upon a group of teenagers playing basketball amidst the rubble.

“As a foreign correspondent working in the middle of a horrendous disaster zone,” said Pittman. “I didn’t expect to see people having a good time — or asking me to play ball. I was even more stunned when I learned that the basketball goal was one of the first things this neighborhood rebuilt. It took a moment for me to realize that it made all the sense in the world.”

Play on.

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