Weather Makes Basketball Popular
Basketball is considered the number one spectators' event in the country simply because it is usually held under a roof (at the Araneta Coliseum for example). Baseball and football could not gain popularity because Filipino spectators are not willing to seat under the scorching sun or heavy rains. It must be noted, however, that young Filipinos are beginning to switch to new games, such as billiards and computer games, because of the limited number of basketball courts in the country.
Filipinos Brought Home 3 Olympic Medals in 1932
Three Filipino athletes brought home a bronze medal apiece from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso won a bronze at the 200-meter breaststroke event while Simeon Toribio also clinched a bronze in the high jump event. Jose "Cely" Villanueva clinched the country's first boxing bronze medal in the bantamweight category.
Filipinos Won 9 Olympic Medals
Filipino athletes have brought home a total of 9 Olympic medals since the country began participating in the quadrennial event in 1924. Teofilo Yldefonso, a 200-breastroke swimmer, won the country's first bronze medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and its second bronze at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. The country actually had 3 medals in 1932 when Simeon Torribio, a high jumper, added a bronze and bantamweight boxer Jose "Cely" Villanueva clinched another bronze.
Miguel White, who fought for the country in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, won a bronze in the 400-meter hurdles event. Featherweight boxer Anthony Villanueva, a son of Jose, won the country's first silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Villanueva actually lost a controversial decision to Russian Stanislav Stephaskin in their battle for the gold medal.
Tenpin player Arianne Cerdena won a gold in bowling at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but Cerdena's gold was not included in the medal tally since bowling was considered only as a demonstration sport. Light flyweight boxer Leopoldo Serantes, however, brought home a bronze from Seoul. Light flyweight boxer Roel Velasco won a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In taekwondo, bantamweight Stephen Fernandez and featherweight Bea Lucero brought home two bronze medals from Barcelona, but they were not included in the medal tally, since taekwondo was just counted as a demonstration sport then.
Roel's younger brother Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco won a silver at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Onyok lost a controversial decision to Bulgarian Daniel Bojilov in the light-flyweight finals.
RP Became Far Eastern Games Champion
At the inaugural Far Eastern Games in 1913, the Philippines beat China to clinch the championship. Only the two countries competed in the event in 1913 and 1915 while Japan joined in 1917 and Indonesia in 1934. From 1913 to 1934, China won 9 championships and the Philippines only one championship.
RP Placed 2nd at Asian Games
The Philippines placed second to Japan among 18 participating countries in 8 sports events at the 1954 Asian Games held in Manila. It also placed second behind Japan among 20 participating countries in 13 sports events at the 1958 Asian Games held in Tokyo.
Filipinos Won 56 Asiad Gold Medals
The Philippines has hauled in a total of 56 gold medals since it began participating in the 1951 New Delhi Asian Games. When the country hosted the 1954 Asian Games, Filipino athletes captured 14 gold medals, good enough to make the country second to Japan in the medal tally. It also placed second to Japan in the 1958 Tokyo Asiad when Filipino athletes brought home nine gold medals.