'In our blood': Basketball and Montreal's Filipino community
How the sport has helped unite Filipinos in Côte-des-Neiges
When Jake Maguigad and Robert De Guzman moved to Côte-des-Neiges six months apart in 1969, they wanted to connect the Filipino community through a shared passion from back home: basketball.
The only problem was, they could only find nine Filipinos in the area who could play — one short of what was needed for a game.
“We had to befriend a Spaniard to make it 10,” Maguigad says with a laugh. “We gave him an honorary spot in our league.”
Today, more than 60 per cent of all Filipinos living in Montreal call Côte-des-Neiges their home, making the neighbourhood a hub for Filipino businesses, families and community organizations.
The basketball league— now known as the Philippine Basketball Association of Montreal (PBAM)— encompasses more than 65 teams throughout its different divisions, bringing together more than 800 people from the Filipino community each weekend.
Ask anyone involved in the PBAM, and they’ll say basketball was a natural way to unite Filipinos in Côte-des-Neiges.
“Every Filipino loves basketball,” Maguigad says. “It’s in our blood.”
Every Filipino loves basketball. It’s in our blood.- Jake Maguigad, Basketball league founder