MANILA— If there is one thing the basketball world could expect from the Philippines as it hosts two FIBA World Cups in the near future, that would be the Filipinos’ passion for the game.
Caelan Tiongson attested to the expectation after playing for the first time in the Philippines on Wednesday night, the six-foot-five Nanhai Kung Fu Basketball Club forward, born to a Filipino father and an American mother, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“The Filipino crowd is the best crowd in the world. It’s fun to play here,” Tiongson said.
Despite playing for the Kung Fu, the 25-year-old Biola University alumnus, who is making his first foray into professional basketball after getting undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, felt like he is already part of Alab Pilipinas, the team they were battling during their ASEAN Basketball League game in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.
“I appreciate the love that they showed me,” Tiongson said.
Despite his team, which also goes by the name Chong Son Kung Fu, losing in overtime, 91-94, Tiongson said he would cherish his first game in the Philippines.
“It’s all about good experience for me,” he said, adding that he looks forward to joining the PBA in two years.
The Philippines is set to host the FIBA 3×3 World Cup this year while also hosting the FIBA World Cup in the five-on-five side in 2023.