Why PH is close to US college basketball star's heart

By Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jan 25 2014 04:01 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2014 07:56 PM

PROVO, Utah – When National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) star Tyler Haws isn't busy scoring around 22 points per game for the Brigham Young University Cougars, he's often thinking about the Philippines, the country where he served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

"The Filipino people really have a special place in my heart," he said after a recent practice. "Hindi ko makakalimutan ang mga bagay na naranasan ko doon."

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard said he was devastated when he heard about the destruction caused by Typhoon Yolanda since it slammed central Philippines more than two months ago.

"I’ve seen a lot of pictures that break my heart, and pinagdarasal ko mga tao doon," he said.

To help, Haws recently made a YouTube video that encourages viewers to donate to LDS Philanthropies, a non-profit organization that’s been providing temporary shelter, as well as life-sustaining supplies to people in Eastern Samar and Leyte provinces.

"Sana nandoon ako sa Pilipinas para tumulong pero nasa gitna kami ng season namin sa basketball so hindi ako pwede pumunta doon," he said.

He hopes the video will remind people that help is still greatly needed in the Philippines.

"Gumawa kami ng isang video para to raise awareness para tumulong sa mga tao doon," he said.

While the West Coast Conference’s leading scorer continues to put together a strong 2013-14 season, he hopes that basketball, the Philippines’ favorite sport, will help survivors of the storm recover and rebuild.

“I think basketball does, in some way, help them heal and stay happy and magkaroon ng pagasa sa mga nangyayari," said Haws.