PBA Legends inspire Filipino-Americans

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

May 1, 2014

BALTIMORE, Md. – With four seconds left on the clock, the score is tied at 75 points in the last quarter.

But PBA Young Legend member Kenneth Duremdes throws a shot and makes it.

This is exactly the reason why PBA Legends exhibition games are electrifying.

Especially for these U.S. Pinoy hoopsters during a recent friendly game in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Oh it was a lot of fun. Some of the guys I haven’t seen since college when I was at the Ateneo. So, Kenneth Duremdes and Vince Hizon – it’s good to see those guys again after so many years,” said local Baltimore baller Luis Story.

PBA Young Legends is a group of pro-league Filipino basketball players who tour the U.S. and the world not only to relive their glory days in Philippine basketball but to raise funds for various charities as well.

That’s our objective to give back to the fans who have supported us for the past 30 years. It’s our own little way of giving back,” said PBA legend Jerry Codinera.

To have legends like Yves Dignadice, Vince Hizon, Yoyoy Villamin, Kenneth Duremdes, Marlou Aquino and Jerry Codinera all in one roof is enough to make young Filipinos aspire to become like them in the future.

“They are so big. I want to be like them,” said John Dave Tinawin.

That’s a good sign, to play in the NBA, the highest level of basketball, but the PBA was the highest for us in Asia. So hopefully Fil-Ams who are not sure of NBA or PBA they can try Collegiate basketball. That’s beautiful,” said PBA legend Kenneth Duremdes.

PBA shooting guard legend Vince Hizon is a Filipino-American born and raised in Orange County, Calif.

He played for Purefoods, Ginebra San Miguel, and Red Bull Energy Boosters in the Philippines in the 90’s.

But he will forever be in the history books for being the first Filipino player to play professional in the U.S.

In 2004 he joined the Pennsylvania Valleydawgs in the U.S. basketball league.

“The NBA it’s just a matter of time, the way I see it, before it was unheard of to have Asian in the NBA, now you have so many from China, form Taiwan, Korea, it’s just a matter of time before the Philippines puts its stamp in the NBA,” said Hizon.

Meantime, Hizon says, the door is always open for young Fil-Am’s to play in the Philippines and he is always on the lookout for future legends.

It’s also a bit of recruiting, I’m an assistant coach now with Coach Kenneth and Marlou for Adamson University, so we’re actually seeking out actively for future possible legends, so we have scholarships available, so we’re looking for Fil-Am or Filipinos to come home,” said Hizon.

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