Episode 1 - Welcome to Paradise
In 1998, while a young Cassidy Hubbarth sat next to her mother on their couch in Chicago, yelling at the TV as the Bulls went for their second three-peat, Nikko Ramos was playing at recess in Manila, eagerly waiting for updates from “recess runners” who darted between the canteen and a payphone to relay the game’s play-by-play from a cousin’s bootleg satellite. A 13-hour time difference, a hazy satellite feed, and questionably-accurate third party updates wouldn’t keep Filipino fans from the NBA finals. Today, according to the NBA’s yearly surveys, 62% of the general population in the Philippines consider themselves NBA fans. 34% consider themselves avid NBA fans. That’s the largest percentage of all countries. Coming from the Philippines, where the average height of men is 5’4”, one might wonder how Filipinos came to be obsessed with a sport usually played by the tallest people on the planet. Cassidy and Nikko explore the deep, colonial roots of basketball in the Philippines, the development of the second oldest professional basketball league in the world, and the creativity of Pinoy basketball fans both while playing and watching the game.