Fil-Am represents family and culture on basketball court

BERKELEY, Calif. – Filipino American Brandon Chauca is living out his dream to play point guard for the University of California Berkeley Bears.

Chauca patterns his game after other NBA point guards like the Phoenix Sun’s Isaiah Thomas and Hall of Famer John Stockton who are known for their shooting touch and defensive moves.

Growing up in Alexandria, Virginia this 20-year-old Fil-Am came to the West Coast on his own to earn a college degree on a basketball scholarship.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Chauca. “I mean my whole life was to make it Division I and not only did I make it Division I but I made it to one of the best institutions in the world.”

Chauca has a Peruvian father and Pinay mother who comes from Mindanao and he credits his family with developing his basketball skills and the love for the game.

“He taught me how to play and he just had this crazy love for it and it turned out Filipinos do too,” said Chauca. “My mom wasn’t really a sports person but her family is and once we got involved with the community and my sister started playing Filipino youth basketball we found out Filipinos just love it.“

Chauca says he doesn’t take for granted this opportunity and he pushes himself to work hard every day in the classroom and on the court.

“I just feel I represent a lot of people,” said Chauca. “I don’t just represent myself. I represent my family, my countries, but it’s hard for Filipinos because the stereotypical Filipino is me. I’m 5’9. I’m under six feet. Usually they don’t make it pass high school.”

Chauca is also aware that he may have a chance next year to compete against rising basketball star Fil-Am Kobe Paras who is committed to attending the University of California Los Angeles.

“It should be fun,” said Chauca. “I haven’t seen a lot of him. I know he’s athletic and it’s good to have another Filipino playing.”

Chauca is also comforted by the fact that he is surrounded by a diverse Bay Area community that includes many kababayans.

“It’s just cool seeing more of where I come from and when you see more of where you’re from you want to be more involved,” said Chauca.

Chauca and the Berkeley Bears will face off against Oregon State’s Beavers during Cal Berkeley’s second annual Filipino Heritage Night this Sunday.

He will be featured in a special Q&A with the crowd following the game.

For more information and tickets you may click on the following link: Cal Berkeley Filipino Heritage Night.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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