Playing with the Big Boys


Playing with the Big Boys

Basketball, American Imperialism, and Subaltern Discourse in the Philippines

Lou Antolihao

264 pages
8 photographs, 6 tables, index


May 2015


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

May 2015


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

May 2015


$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Basketball has a lock on the Filipino soul. From big arenas in Manila to makeshift hoops in small villages, basketball is played by Filipinos of all walks of life and is used to mark everything from summer breaks for students to religious festivals and many other occasions. Playing with the Big Boys traces the social history of basketball in the Philippines from an educational and “civilizing” tool in the early twentieth century to its status as national pastime since the country gained independence after World War II.
While the phrase “playing with the big boys” describes the challenge of playing basketball against outsized opponents, it also describes the struggle for recognition that the Philippines, as a subaltern society, has had to contend with in its larger transnational relationships as a former U.S. colony.
 Lou Antolihao goes beyond the empire-colony dichotomy by covering Filipino basketball in a wider range of comparisons, such as that involving the growing influence of Asia in its region, particularly China and Japan. In this context, Antolihao shows how Philippines basketball has moved from a vehicle for Americanization to a force for globalization in which the United States, while still a key player, is challenged by other basketball-playing countries.

Author Bio

Lou Antolihao is a sociologist who specializes in leisure studies and comparative-historical analysis. He has held research and teaching appointments in the Philippines, Singapore, and Japan, most recently as the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University.


"Antolihao provides a well-crafted narrative of the historical and social discourse of basketball in the Philippines."—Chad Carlson, Journal of Sport History

"Antolihao has written a very interesting study that nobody working on Philippine basketball and baseball can ignore."—Stefan Hübner, Journal of Asian American Studies

“Attentive to the ways in which so many aspects of political and national discourse intersect with the game of basketball. Any historians working on Philippine history or the history of sport and colonialism would be well served by reading this work.”—Andrew D. Morris, professor of history at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. Spheroid of Influence: Sports, Colonization, Modernity
2. From Baseball Colony to Basketball Republic: Postcolonial Transition and National Sporting Culture
3. The Hollywoodization of Hoops: Basketball, Mass Media, Popular Culture
4. Rooting for the Underdog: Sports, Spectatorship, Subalternity
5. Basketball without Borders: Globalization and National Sports in Postcolonial Context

Also of Interest