Don’t look now but did you know the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, the wizards of basketball, played in Bacolod City when they first came to the Philippines in 1953?. In his book “Harlem Globetrotters 50 years of fun and games!”, author Chuck Menville wrote that a Filipino plantation owner later identified as J. Amado Araneta, owner of Araneta Coliseum, offered the Trotters an all-expense paid trip to one of his sugar plantations for an exhibition game in the “midst of jungle” which was later contradicted by Ateneo Sports Hall of Famer Ando Hernaez that the game was played in the still existing Paglaum Stadium in heart of Bacolod City and not in the “midst of the jungle”. Hernaez confirmed that a wooden court was built for the game. On the other hand, George Vecsey of the New York Times said Araneta offered the Trotters $5,000 with Araneta selling the tickets at $4 to $10 each. The Trotters were bannered by Goose Tatum and Marques Haynes while the Bacolod selection came from Bacolod Murcia. Araneta owned the Bacolod Murcia Sugar Central. 1948 Olympian Manolet Araneta, father of current first lady Lisa Marcos, was named head coach. Manolet, together with Lauro Mumar, Ramoncito Campos and the Fajardo brothers, were in the Philippine team to the 1948 London Olympics. Hernaez said that at that time, there were only a few college players, so Manolet reinforced the team with four high school players including him (Hernaez), who was only 15 then. One of their teamates was Dodo Dela Rama who would later play for Ysmael Steel. Hernaez recalled that it was raining hard during the game thus, preventing the Trotters from making fun of them. Of course, the game was lopsided in favor of the Trotters. By the way, on January 5, 1971, the Trotters lost to the New Jersey Reds 100-99, snapping their consecutive-games winning streak at 2, 495.
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