During the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association Under-16 tournament, there was always a small crowd that sits on the patron section of the SMART-Araneta Coliseum cheering on the Singapore youth team. Even if the games were held early in the morning, the small group of Singapore supporters were lively and energetic.
The Singapore youth team has three players that trace their roots to the Philippines, namely Reuben Faustino Amado, David Chuabio, and Jack William Lacsado. The families of the three players made it a point to wake up early to support their relative.
And for Reuben’s family, the games also helped bring their family together.
At the young age of six years old, Reuben Amado, a native of Dasmarinas, Cavite, had to migrate to Singapore with his parents. But his love for basketball, the Philippines’ national pastime, did not fade.
“Nag-jojoin siya ng mga school competitions at by himself, sumali rin siya ng iba’t ibang clubs,” shared Raquel Amado, Reuben’s mother.
“Actually, hindi nga namin alam na yung ibang niyang sinasalihan na tournaments at clubs. Ganun niya ka-love yung basketball.”
When 15-year-old Amado was chosen to be one of the 12 players to represent Singapore, Mrs. Amado was more than happy. Her son got to represent Singapore while the family can also come back home.
“Ang saya. Para mapili ka sa isang bansa at mag-represent, napakalaking karangalan,” she shared.
“Mas lalong masaya nung nalaman namin dito sa Manila ang tournament. At the same time, nalaman din namin kasi na makakabalik kami dito. Pumapasyal din kami dito, last time namin nakauwi was in 2015.”
For four days, the Faustino and Amado family came in droves, cheering their hearts out for Reuben. It was the first time Reuben’s cousins got to watch the Singaporean guard play.
“First time nila mapanood si Reuben. Parang naging family reunion na rin sa amin ito,” the mother of three furthered as Reuben’s uncles, aunties, and cousins sat at court-side as well.
“Dati sa TV lang kami nanonood and now nakalaro na siya dito sa Araneta.”
Though Singapore did not pick up a win in the tournament, the joy it brought to Reuben and his family is something that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
For Mrs. Amado, her son’s future in basketball is something that they will leave to Reuben.
“Gusto lang namin mag-enjoy siya sa whatever career na gusto niya. We are here to support him in whatever path he chooses,” Raquel closed as the family gathered for a photo with Reuben before they fly back to Singapore.