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3x3 Basketball

Fil-Palestinian Chester Saldua uses PBA 3×3 platform to advocate for social justice

Chester Saldua hopes to have done his part regarding the ongoing war in the Middle East shortly after TNT’s triumph in the PBA 3×3 Season 3 Second Conference Grand Finals on Monday night.

The 29-year-old Filipino-Palestinian was seen carrying the state’s tricolors amid the Triple Giga’s celebration following a nail-biting 21-20 overtime win over Meralco behind Almond Vosotros’ gutsy deuce to clinch their sixth straight grand title.

“Everybody’s very, very supportive of what I’ve been doing,” he told Tiebreaker Times after the tilt held at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.

“And, hopefully, everybody gets to educate themselves and do their own research, not for me, but to just see what reality really is.”

Born to a Palestinian mother, Saldua witnessed with his own two eyes the situation in the country when he got to play there during the PBA 3×3 break.

“I’m half Palestinian. My mom’s Palestinian. I was able to play during the off-season of the PBA 3×3 in Palestine, and seeing it first-hand, you know, you see it on the news, and everything,” the 6-foot-5 all-around winger from Perpetual Help said.

“But just being there and seeing what oppression is really like, what apartheid is really like, what a military occupation… Illegal occupation is really like, it just breaks your heart.”

Needless to say, it was an eye-opener for him. Now, he’s trying to do what he can to educate more people about what’s happening in Palestine – a nation that, for years, has been in conflict with Israel.

And to be allowed to openly express his stance on matters far bigger than the game of basketball makes everything worthwhile for Saldua, whose parents were also in attendance and witnessed TNT’s Grand Finals win.

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“Just being there really opened my eyes to what I have to be, like… Being here, being in the spotlight, being interviewed right now asking me about Palestine, that is where hard work pays off,” he said.

“For me to shine on more important things which is social justice and things going around the world not only in Palestine, really, but like… Right now, we have a genocide on our hands and I can’t take this lightly.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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