WHAT do Pampanga, Cebu, and Negros Occidental have in common?
Well, aside from their distinct dialects and delectable dishes, among others, these provinces are also known to be the top hometowns of PBA basketball players.
The North Luzon province and the two from Visayas kept their stature as the Top 3 basketball hotbeds in the country, having the most natives playing in the PBA this season, according to the opening-day rosters the league released.
Pampanga tightened its grip on the No. 1 spot by having the same Kapampangan sons since last year at 13 with the addition of two rookies in Javee Mocon and Michael Calisaan.
Cebu has the second-most representatives, increasing its tally from nine to breaching the double-digit barrier with 10 this year with three Cebuano rookies making their way to the pros in Paul Desiderio, Kris Porter, and Ron Dennison.
Negros Occidental rounded out the Top 3 by maintaining its total from last year with eight Negrense players suiting up for PBA teams.
Outside the Top 3, Pangasinan made a huge leap to fourth spot, increasing the Pangasinense platoon from four to six this year with its most notable addition being top rookie pick CJ Perez.
Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro shared fifth spot with five natives each, all holdovers from last year.
Other Luzon and Visayas provinces are also represented, ranging from one to four representatives per area.
One province that returned to the PBA map is Palawan, which, after having zero natives last year, has two this season in the returning Jireh Ibañes and rookie Cyrus Tabi.
Manila and Quezon City still have the most representatives among NCR cities, although QC dropped from 11 to seven players this year.
In terms of overseas-born or -raised players, most still came from California, which padded its total from 22 to 24 players this year.
Take a look at the entire list of hometowns of PBA basketball players:
June Mar Fajardo
JP Calvo – Silay City
CJ Perez – Pangasinan
Jeepy Faundo – Pozorrubio, Pangasinan
Jon Jon Gabriel
Art dela Cruz
Emil Renz Palma
Ranidel de Ocampo
Yancy de Ocampo
Jorey Napoles – Daraga, Albay
Robert Bolick – Ormoc
Abu Tratter – Siniloan, Laguna
Teytey Teodoro – Lucena
Over a hundred PBA players may come from the provinces, but you don’t have to look far to find PBA standouts as there are also standouts who were raised in Metro Manila. Manila has a double-digit number of natives with 12, while Quezon City, one of the largest cities in the country, has the second most with seven, followed by Mandaluyong with six. overall, there are the 41 players whose hometowns are in the National Capital Region. Here they are.
Carl Bryan Cruz
Bong Quinto – Quezon City
Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
The globalization of the basketball is also evident in the PBA thru their players who were raised – and others born – overseas. Getting the world-class training abroad helped these cagers get ready for suiting up in their mothers’ land. They may have lived most of their lives outside the Philippines, but make no mistake: they are proud of their Filipino heritage. Calfornia has the most PBA players, while New York and Florida have two each. Check them out.
Rome dela Rosa