EVERYBODY knows all about Fil-Ams playing in the Philippine Basketball Association. Well, how about the one and only Feel-Fil playing, which is none other than Alex Compton of the Welcoat Dragons.
“No, I’m not a Fil-Am,” said Alex. “I’m actually just Feel-Fil: Feeling Filipino. I was born here in the country and I already feel like a Filipino from living here for so long.”
Alex was born in the Philippines because his American parents were here during his birth. In most other countries, including the USA, that would have been enough to entitle citizenship. But we have stricter laws in the Philippines, which is why legally he’s not a Filipino.
Alex speaks fluent Tagalog and halting Bisaya. He’s been here for close to a decade or ever since he got a special dispensation to play as a local with the Manila MetroStars in the Metropolitan Basketball Association.
After the MBA folded, Alex tried to join the PBA. But not being a Filipino, nor a Fil-Am, his request was denied. He joined the Philippine Basketball League instead and continued to knock on the PBA doors.
Finally, just before the start of the current PBA Fiesta Conference, he was told that he could play in the PBA as a Welcoat’s second import.
“Four days before Welcoat’s first game I was told that I could play,” said Compton. “My first thought was: That’s great, I finally get my dream of playing in the PBA. My second thought was: Oh God, I am so out of shape.”
Alex hadn’t played competitive basketball for nine months and was with Welcoat as an assistant coach. But after the past few weeks of intensive practice and PBA games, Alex is almost in 100-percent shape.
Whether the Welcoat Dragons advance to the playoffs of the PBA Fiesta Conference will depend on a number of many things. But with Alex playing, the Welcoat Dragons will at least be exciting to watch.
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Because of my new assignment here in Standard Today—School Spirit—I’ve been watching collegiate basketball quite intently. One competition I’m really eager to watch is the Filoil-Flying V Sports, which kicks off this April 29 at the new San Juan Arena, at the San Juan Government Center, Santolan, San Juan.
FFVS will showcase 14 teams, seven from the NCAA and seven from the UAAP and will be called the Filoil-Flying V Pre-season Invitational Cup.
San Beda faces Letran at 2 p.m. in the first game and fans get a glimpse of the fabled Ateneo vs. La Salle match-up ahead of the UAAP at 4 p.m.
The pre-season tournament was created in order to give basketball fans a glimpse of how teams will perform in the coming collegiate wars.
Unlike other summer leagues, where teams just play to hone up their basketball skills, FFVS organizers have requested the participating colleges and universities to bring their bands and cheering squads in order to ensure an atmosphere similar to that of the NCAA and the UAAP.
The participating colleges and universities are all set to send their best players in order to prepare them for their respective major leagues.
Just like the last offering adopted in the Filoil-Flying V Homegrown Invitational Cup, the tournament format in the elimination phase will be an inter-group format.
Participants have been divided into two groups. Group A and group B will have seven teams each. The top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinal stage where all the quarterfinalists play against each other.
This early I’m very excited to see how the best collegiate teams stack up against each other.
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