PH Basketball Gaining Popularity Among Filipino Youth in Italy

Rome Basketball 1 

Back in Rome, the Magbuhos brothers of the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, Winfrey Jr. (right) and Vince (2nd from right) enjoy the Christmas holidays with their father Winfrey Sr. and mother Charito Gunda. (Rome PE photo)

ROME 16 January 2019 — There is a growing interest in Philippine basketball among the Filipino youth in Italy, indicating the popularity of the Philippine sport among the Filipino communities in Europe whose national pastime is soccer.

In Rome, the Magbuhos brothers, Winfrey Jr. who stands 6’3” and his younger sibling Vince, who is 6’5”, have blazed the trail for young Filipino basketball aficionados in Italy to join the collegiate basketball in Manila.

Winfrey, 20, and Vince,19, joined the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in Season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

Young Jose Carlos Cullar, who honed his basketball skills in Rome, is also playing for the University of the East Red Warriors.

Widely followed by the Filipino community in Italy is 17 year old Dalph Panopio, who played for Batang Gilas alongside Kai Sotto of the Ateneo de Manila junior basketball team for the FIBA under-18 basketball games this year. Mr. Panopio is back with his Stellazzurra basketball team in Italy. 

The Magbuhos brothers were born in Italy to a second generation of Filipino migrants. Their father, Winfrey Magbuhos Sr, from Cavite and their mother, Charito Gunda, from Laguna arrived in Italy in the late 1980s.

Vince recalls that a number of young Filipino students have tried their luck for a spot in various collegiate basketball teams in Manila. Their ultimate target is the Philippine Basketball Association.

Unlike the Magbuhos brothers who are both Filipino and Italian citizens, some Manila-bound hopefuls particularly of mixed Italian and Filipino origin have yet to re-acquire Filipino citizenship.

They express the hope that, through the assistance of the Philippine government, young Filipino students like them can reach their dreams of playing Philippine basketball.

There are 168,495 Filipinos all over Italy, of which number 11,030 are dependents. END

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Brothers Winfrey and Vince Magbuhos join Consul General Adrian Bernie Candolada and Welfare Officer Hector Cruz of the Philippine Embassy in Italy at a dinner in Rome. (Rome PE photo)