A new series on the National Geographic Channel will delve into the Philippines’ undying love for the sport of basketball. Pinoy Hoops is presented by Rafe Bartholomew, author of the best-selling book Pacific Rims, who will guide viewers on a journey to the very heart of a basketball-obsessed nation to uncover why the sport has been embraced wholeheartedly by Filipinos from all walks of life.
Pinoy Hoops is Bartholomew’s docu-diary as he travels through the Philippines searching for the root of why its people love basketball so much. In a country where makeshift courts are set up in every barangay, it’s not hard to imagine the lengths that Filipinos will go to experience or play a game of basketball, nor why the country is considered Asia’s Basketball Mecca. Filipinos live and breathe this game, and Bartholomew leaves no stone unturned in finding out why.
In this three-part series, Bartholomew exposes both the public and secret worlds of basketball. He visits back-alley courts in the roughest neighborhoods as well as the most remote mountainsides, and he witnesses a professional basketball game both courtside and behind the scenes. While on his travels, he meets some unique individuals to whom basketball is not just a sport but a way of life—and this is what gives viewers a clue to discovering why the game is so important to many Filipinos.
Although an American, Bartholomew provides great insight into basketball in the Philippines, knowing more about the Filipino’s relationship with the sport than most locals. His book Pacific Rims was written while he was on a Fulbright scholarship in the country, on which he embarked in November 2005. For three years, he learned the language, immersed himself in local communities, and researched on the role of basketball in Philippine society. Bartholomew’s sociable research methods and obvious love for the sport helped him delve deeper into the psyche of basketball-loving Filipinos despite his default setback as an outsider.
Bartholomew was featured twice on the Best American Sports Writing Series, has received multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and now serves as Senior Editor at Grantland, an ESPN sports and pop-culture website.
Pinoy Hoops took two years to make and offers an authentic, un-sanitized look at Philippine basketball curated by an expert who took great care to get to know Filipinos and their deep relationship with the sport.
Catch the premiere of Pinoy Hoops on October 21, Monday at 9pm only on National Geographic Channel!