The Philippine basketball history book “When We Were Champions”, which has won advance praise from sportswriters as “well-researched and stylishly written”, will be formally launched on Sunday, October 1, at the Hobby Stadium on E. Rodriguez cor. Dona Hemady St. in Quezon City.
Veteran sportswriter Noel Albano, the author, will be on hand to sign copies of the book he has tenderly called “a long love letter to Filipino called “a long love letter to Filipino basketball fans.”
Long-time television sportscaster Sev Sarmenta will host the 1-6 p.m. event that will be graced by Filipino basketball greats Edgardo Roque, Jaime Mariano and Rosalio Martirez and lawyer Alex Padilla, son of the 1936 Berlin Olympian Ambrosio Padilla.
Leading Filipino basketball memorabilia collector Dr. Michael Rico Mesina and Ellen Sheila Limiac are organizing the launch, which is presented jointly by The BasketVault, HoopCon PH and Hobby Stadium and also includes a basketball memorabilia exhibit, an all-star quiz challenge, raffle draws and Q & As with the special guests.
“With this book, “ Sarmenta wrote in the book’s Introduction, “you (fans) will understand why there is an undying call for our teams to challenge the present-day powers of the game.”
“When We Were Champions” took 10 years to complete and chronicles the six decades from 1913 to 1973—often referred to as “our glory years”—when Filipinos dominated Asian basketball, winning nine of the first 10 titles in the now defunct Far Eastern Games, and the defunct Far Eastern Games, and the first four gold medals contested in its successor event, the Asian Games.
The book also covers the seven Philippine Olympic stints beginning in Berlin in1936 when Filipinos gained fifth place for the highest ever achievement by an Asian nation in nearly nine decades of Olympic basketball, and the 1954 2nd Fiba world basketball championship when the Philippines won the bronze, becoming the only Asian team to achieve a podium finish in tournament history.
Filipinos also bagged four of the first seven titles disputed in the Asian Basketball Confederation (now Fiba Asia) tournament between 1960 and 1973.