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Pinoy

On Rafe Bartholomew’s “Pacific Rims” (2010).

When I was growing up in the Philippines, every guy in my neighborhood played basketball. As a writer one is trained not to use absolute terms like “every” or “all,” but this is surely a statement of empirical fact. Maybe those guys were too busy now, or their knees, like mine, had given way in middle age, but at some point in their lives, they had picked up a ball and chucked it through a hoop. And in every neighborhood, there was one. Even I can still remember the makeshift basketball court near my house: planks salvaged from some construction site and nailed to a tree, a frayed net clinging to a rusted hoop bent funny from all the dunk attempts, skinny street dogs weaving between the players’ skinnier legs, worn-out tsinelas and fake Reeboks raising little puffs of brown dust, overshadowed by the clouds of diesel smoke as a jeep rumbles down the street, and the game is temporarily interrupted to make way for the vehicle.