AS a team loaded with players of mixed heritage, the Phoenix Fuel Masters shared their own personal stories of racism in support of Black Lives Matter — a movement that's regained global news prominence with the death of George Floyd.
Players and coaches in the team with foreign ties opened up about their many experiences of discrimination, but in the end, left words of empowerment and encouragement for everyone watching the video.
According to the team's social media manager Tammy David, the video was Matthew Wright’s idea. The 29-year-old Fil-Canadian tapped his teammates to take part in this peaceful protest, including Brian Heruela, Jason Perkins, Calvin Abueva, Davon Potts, and assistant coach Topex Robinson. Wright even managed to rope in Coach Willy Wilson.
"In light of the recent protests in the States I thought we should shine a light on the situation here in the Philippines. We have multiple black players on our team and in the league and I wanted to show them we do hear their plight and see the injustices and it's time to make a stand," Wright told SPIN Life.
He then spliced all their video clips together, which you can watch below:
"Phoenix Super LPG takes a stand against racism by promoting brotherhood and awareness during these times," Wright said in his caption.
Brian Heruela opened up about the struggles he had when he was young. Meanwhile, Jason Perkins shared an early encounter back in third grade.
"I took lemonade powder from my house to sell lemonade on the street for 25 cents a cup, then a group of white guys came up and yelled, 'Why would we buy lemonade from a [redacted]?" Perkins said.
Meanwhile, Calvin Abueva and coach Topex Robinson talked about the rampant teasing they and other people of color received while growing up.
"Negro, baluga, monkey were just some of the names people used to call me," said the team's assistant coach, "but I am Topex Robinson, and now a PBA and college coach, and a public speaker that promotes love, concern, and care. Racism didn't win."
Facing the reality a lot his colleagues had to face growing up, Wright wanted to shed light on the matter that these people are achievers, and would risk everything to prove it among others, but first and foremost, to themselves.
"Men like Calvin, Brian and coach Topex have found a way to battle racism in this country and succeed in life regardless of their skin colour. Hopefully we can give inspiration to anyone, especially the youth, who is inflicted with these racial injustices to stay strong and push through," Wright added.
That was the message that every Phoenix player in the video left for the viewers: "Racism didn't win."
As Matthew Wright wrote on his Instagram page, speaking not just for himself but for the minorities out there: “We hear you, we see you, we stand with you. #BlackLivesMatter.”
They should know. They've experienced that discrimination firsthand.