Philippine Basketball, Economy and Politics: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Hit the Filipinos’ Most Beloved Sport


This paper explores how the prolonged quarantine measures in the Philippines affected the economics and politics of basketball, arguably the most beloved sport among Filipinos, given its sub-cultural underpinnings and significance as a venue of public interaction. It presents the sport and its foremost structure (basketball court) as an "economic hub" in limbo because of strict lockdown measures implemented by government under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to ensure the public’s safety amid the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, specifically from April to July. This led to limited people movement, and consequently empty playing courts devoid of any economic activity. The void left by the "economic hub" discourse is now greatly filled by the politics of "public utility" hinged on the utilization of basketball courts as quarantine sites and holding areas for lockdown violators, among others. But in late September, the country’s basketball stakeholders have moved to restart the sport by staging a bubble tournament in Pampanga province, north of Manila, and later joining the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain as its pitch for a return to “basketball normalcy” in the country. The descriptive-analytical method of narration supported by historical sources and online news updates were employed for this paper to contextualize the discussion and show how Philippine basketball as a subaltern topic can transcend the realm of the “apolitical” and become an outpost of relevant scholarship at the time of the pandemic.

Author Information
Anthony Andrew Divinagracia, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: KAMC2020
Stream: Politics and Philosophy

This paper is part of the KAMC2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Divinagracia A. (2021) Philippine Basketball, Economy and Politics: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Hit the Filipinos’ Most Beloved Sport ISSN: 2436-0503 – The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture 2020: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon