UU Tigers 3: Making History in Basketball NI As First All Filipino Team

In the dynamic world of basketball, every new team that emerges brings with it a story of passion, determination, and dreams. Among these narratives, there’s one that stands out – the inspiring journey of the UU Tigers 3, the first all-Filipino team to compete in the prestigious BNI leagues and cups.

For decades, basketball has been deeply ingrained in Filipino culture, serving as both a sport and a way of life. From makeshift courts in barangays to professional arenas, the love for the game transcends all boundaries. And now, the UU Tigers 3 are carving their own path, representing their heritage and hometown with pride on the BNI stage.

Led by MJ Maglanoc, who serves as both head coach and player, the UU Tigers 3 bring a blend of skill, tenacity, and camaraderie to the court. Maglanoc, a beacon of inspiration for his teammates and fans alike, embodies the essence of Filipino basketball – resilience in the face of challenges and unwavering spirit.

In a league dominated by powerhouse teams, the UU Tigers 3 have faced their fair share of hurdles. But with each setback, they’ve emerged stronger, their determination unwavering. Their journey is not just about winning games; it’s about proving that Filipino talent knows no bounds. Their recent run to the final of the BNI Plate was the just a glimpse of what an amazing team identity can bring.

MJ shared some of his thoughts when asked about what it means to be the first all Filipino team in the BNI Leagues and the historic journey they have been on;

“Representing the Philippines and the UU Tigers on the basketball court is a deeply personal journey for me. It’s more than just playing a game; it’s about carrying the collective dreams and aspirations of our community with every dribble, every pass, and every shot. Basketball isn’t merely a sport for us Filipinos—it’s woven into the fabric of our identity, a cultural cornerstone that unites us no matter where we are in the world.

Growing up in Northern Ireland, finding a place to play basketball was a challenge. The hoops weren’t as readily available, and the community wasn’t as familiar with the sport as back home. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands and establish Rising Stars basketball club, now known as New Era Kingz which is now being organised by the younger generation. It wasn’t easy. We faced countless hurdles, from navigating the intricacies of the game with limited experience to rallying support in a community where basketball wasn’t as prevalent. Yet, fueled by our passion and determination, we persisted.

Despite our modest beginnings and our struggles to find our footing, we kept the spirit of the game alive, gathering at Grosvenor Recreation Centre to hone our skills and share our love for basketball. It was a journey marked by perseverance and resilience, where every victory, no matter how small, felt like a triumph against the odds.

Joining Tigers Basketball Club was a turning point for us. It provided us with a platform to showcase our talents and aspirations, and last season, with a full Filipino team, we began to make our mark. Now, in our second year, reaching the finals is a testament to the countless hours of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that each member of our team has put in. But more than that, it’s a testament to the unbreakable bond we share—a bond forged through shared struggles, victories, and defeats.

We’re not just a team; we’re a family. Every win, every setback, we face together, drawing strength from each other’s unwavering support and encouragement. Our journey has been a testament to the power of unity and resilience, and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved together. Every moment spent on and off the court with these incredible individuals has been a privilege and an honor, and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to represent our community with pride, passion, and perseverance.”

MJ Maglanoc, Head Coach and player for UU Tigers 3

Indeed, the UU Tigers 3 are more than just a basketball team – they’re a symbol of hope and resilience. As they continue to write their story on the courts of BNI Competitions, they remind us all that with dedication and unity, anything is possible.

So here’s to the UU Tigers 3 – may your journey be filled with victories, both on and off the court. Your dedication to the game and your unwavering support for each other inspire us all to reach for the stars. Salamat, and Mabuhay!

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