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Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin' in Flip-Flops and the Philippines' Unlikely Love Affair with Bas ketball Paperback – June 7, 2011
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-James McBride, author, Miracle at St. Anna, The Color of Water, and Song Yet Sung
"This is the kind of book that makes you proud to be a sportswriter, for at its best, sportswriting informs, entertains and educates, like all great writing. Rafe Bartholomew, the young, 6-3 'giant American' in the land of the Lilliputian-but-basketball-mad, turns the Philippines into a hoops carnival, teaching us as much about this complex nation as any history book. I learned, I laughed (I mean, out-loud, splatter-the-page hilarity), I loved it all. Pacific Rims is nothing but a joy."
-Rick Telander, Senior Sports Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times, author, Heaven Is a Playground
"Rafe Bartholomew's Pacific Rims is a rollicking good time, a kind of gonzo basketball journey filled with laughs and pathos. Who would've thought the Philippines was so hoops obsessed. What a cast of eccentric characters. Just hearing the tales of players like Billy Ray Bates - an American import known in his day as the Black Superman - makes this a ride worth taking."
-Alex Kotlowitz, author, There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River
"Rafe Bartholomew traveled to the Philippines to better understand a country that loved basketball as much as he did. What's resulted is a book as varied and unique as the hoops tradition he found there, a dizzying mish-mash of social history, personal narrative, and rock-solid sports journalism. As raw with emotion as it is informative, Pacific Rims can make you both laugh out loud and tear up-sometimes in the span of a single sentence."
-Bethlehem Shoals, author, FreeDarko Presents: The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
Just like Jack McCallum's "Seven Seconds or Less", the author spends an entire season as an embedded journalist with a local professional ball club. However he alternates his fly-on-the-wall reportage of practices and player hijinks with well-researched chapters on past Pinoy sports heroes, defunct leagues, and the country's culture in general.
I noow realize that it takes an outsider's point of view to really put the bizarre yet wonderful world of Pinoy ball into perspective.
- A general overview of the culture of basketball in the Philippines.
- The story of a single season ("conference") where the author follows a pro basketball team, the Alaska Aces, through their successes and struggles on and off the court.
However, perhaps the most important story in the book is that of a young man experiencing a new culture that he knew very little about before he arrived. The author arrives looking for something familiar, basketball, and through it discovers and attempts to explain much that is unfamiliar. The reader is taken along on this journey as well, and it's a lot of fun.
I myself have been to the Philippines several times, and I picked this book up at an airport bookstore in Manila. Even though I already knew a great deal about the country, I was pleased to learn tons of things that I didn't know before. Filipinos will probably also learn plenty, and even if they don't they will enjoy the author's perspective their culture.
You could undoubtedly write a much more comprehensive book about basketball in the Philippines than this one. The author makes a good effort to research the history of the sport there, but the brevity of his experience limits how much of an insider perspective he could really gain. Furthermore, his account of the present-day league lacks objectivity because he has become very close to the particular team that he covered. However, this does not negatively affect the book at all: it never pretends to give an objective appraisal of the league from a neutral point of view, but rather gives itself wholeheartedly to conveying a fan's sense of love for the game. This love rubs off on you as you read.Read more ›
The author captures the Filipinos' passion for the National Sport from barrio to big city and provides insight into this often misunderstood country as a Westerner immersed in the culture. Language and cuisine are important.
An Index (Personal Names, at the least) and a Bibliography would have been useful, but that just may be the librarian bias in me.
Unless Bartholomew is lying to the reader, Filipinos are remarkably into basketball and the sport has found its way into virtually every aspect of life in the country. Soccer never really caught on, and basketball is unquestionably the nation's most popular sport. Courts can be found even in the most remote areas and are viewed as centers of social life, the country's ubiquitous jeepneys are often adorned with a random assortment of NBA team logos or just Jerry West's silhouette, and players in the very popular Philippines' Basketball Association (and some Americans like Clyde Drexler, who is revered by Filipinos for some reason) are cultural icons that hawk a plethora of products to consumers.
The fact that basketball is so huge in the Philippines is enough to make for an interesting book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome in-depth look at Pinoy basketball at it's grass roots levelPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Well written book. Its more about what the author wants us to understand about basketball in the Philippines. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bing C. Dionida
If you like basketball, this is the book for you. It's a very funny book. Plus, you'll learn some new things about basketball. I recommend it.Published 6 months ago by JD
Good read! Very informative. It explained a lot about the game I love as a Filipino.Published 7 months ago by D-Scratch
Pacific rims is about Raf's experience in the Philippines as he travels to explore the basketball culture. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ryan
Great book. Gives great insight into basketball culture in the Philippines. Interesting discussions of dynamics between native Filipino players and Fil-Am players, as well as the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by palm_tree43
Well written although overly romantic take on basketball in the PH.Published 14 months ago by rachel malaguit
Really enjoyed this book. Learned a lot about the country and its people. Fun, easy read. Great writing, Rafe B!Published 15 months ago by Gregory W Hoener
Philippine basketball is mostly told in oral history. It is refreshing to have a good unbiased book written about it. It was a fun read.. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Daniel C