The recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian Games proved a couple of things about the host country and its inhabitants: Filipino athletes are as uber-competitive as local fans are highly supportive.
Even before the biennial multi-sport event, Pinoys have already followed several major tournaments and championships in the country this year. Twitter released social media data on the biggest trends and accounts, including "the fiercest sports competitions" and most prominent personalities of 2019.
The findings were indicative of how the typical Filipino who follows sports religiously behaves online:
#UPFight, #OBF, #UAAPVolleyballFinals, @gretchenho, @AlyssaValdez22
College basketball and volleyball being the Top 3 most retweeted about sports-related hashtags came as no surprise. Unlike what actually happened in the men's senior basketball tournament, UP's cheer came out on top, while Ateneo had to settle for second for the first time in three seasons.
The thrilling volleyball championship series between ADMU and UST grabbed third spot, with a pair of former Lady Eagles placing second and fourth in the most tweeted about local sports accounts.
@Lakers, @KingJames, #LakeShow
The earlier part of 2019 saw the tail end of LeBron James' first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite going down with an injury, then missing the majority of the campaign and the playoffs for the first time since 2005, the King's massive popularity among his Filipino subjects never waned.
@NBA, NBAPlayoffs, #WeTheNorth, #NBAFinals
Overall, the major professional basketball league has been bigger than ever in the Philippines, as the most tweeted about sports account. The NBA's influence was especially felt when the Toronto Raptors faced and finally toppled the Golden State Warriors dynasty in June's finals.
Manny Pacquiao showed that he can still dominate opposing boxers and Twitter trends, after a split-decision win over Keith Thurman in July. The 41-year-old legend dealt the American boxer his first career loss to become the oldest welterweight to win a major world title (WBA Super welterweight championship) in the sport's history.
There's a reason why the PBA is the second oldest continuously professional basketball league existing in the world after the NBA — the same reason why the Philippines won the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup MVF (Most Valuable Fan) Best Country Award. The hashtag is also present in every official play-by-play post on Twitter.