Which Philippine basketball events deserve a documentary à la ‘Last Dance’?


Posted at May 20 2020 05:53 PM

"The Last Dance" was the go-to fix for sports fans hungry for basketball games that have been put on hold because of the global pandemic.

The docuseries -- shown now in its entire, 10-episode run on Netflix -- has inspired fans to wonder which other basketball events deserve the same non-fiction, long-form film treatment.

As far as Philippine basketball is concerned, here are 5 suggestions: 

The Crispa-Toyota rivalry

One could say there was real animosity between these two clubs and that made for perfect theater in the early days of the PBA -- two teams stacked with superstars who were borderline pop-culture celebrities. 

Whether or not game footage could be restored to make it more viewable by today's standards is a big question mark, but who can resist watching the old guard reminiscing about their heyday (and the literal fights they all figured in).

Give me a 10-part docuseries about this topic any time. 

The Jaworski-Fernandez rivalry 

If "The Last Dance" was a history lesson of sorts for young basketball fans, a documentary featuring the beef between Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez would not only be education of all things old-school hoops, it would be entertaining, too. 

Whether the Big J or El Presidente would sit down and offer their insights about it, it's difficult to tell but a film delving into this chapter of local sports would be a sure hit.

The La Salle-Ateneo rivalry 

By now, one can sense a trend here. What makes local basketball stand out compared to other sports are the rivalries and how they easily tap into the tribal, us-against-them instinct of Filipinos.

After Crispa vs. Toyota flamed out when the teams disbanded, the Green Archers and the Blue Eagles emerged as the fiercest beef in Philippine sports. Its relevance until today makes it a must-see documentary no doubt.

The history of Barangay Ginebra 

No sporting phenomenon has sustained such an avid, almost religious following than the popularity of Ginebra San Miguel. 

With the team history dating back to the Jaworski days in the mid-80s to the Mark Caguioa-Jayjay Helterbrand era and the current squad led by Tim Cone, a Ginebra documentary could potentially run for more than 10 episodes and it would be lit.

The formation of Gilas Pilipinas 

It may be a blur now but, for those who were old enough to remember national basketball up to the mid-2000s, there was a long period of misery in international competition.

That was until early 2007 when a group led by Manny V. Pangilinan took over the helm and put Philippine hoops back on the global map. The new beginning eventually led to a miraculous finish in 2013 when Gilas booked a seat to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).