Cayman residents who hail from the Philippines have never dominated local basketball. However with a Filipino side currently unbeaten in the top flight, many locals are in awe.
Team Philippines have started the 2011 Cayman Islands Basketball Association national men’s league undefeated. Heading into Thursday’s match-up with the Dominos Warriors, the Filipino club are 5-0 and two wins clear of the second place teams in the standings.
The stats tell part of the story. So far the club leads all teams in scoring (netting 358 points) though their defence is shaky (allowing 304 points, second most in the league). The side started the season with a resounding nine-point victory over the defending champions the Wolves and have victories over the Heat, V-Cool Watersports Silver Bullets, Esso Blazers and Tarheels.
Leading the way has been new recruit Chris Lucas. The former Dominos player is second in the league in scoring (averaging 27.2 points per game), fourth in rebounds (with 13 boards a game) and fifth in free throw percentage (at 84.4 per cent). Lucas has opened things up for Filipino star (and one-time Domino team-mate) Christian Ferrer who leads the league in assists with 7.3 dishes per game and is fifth in scoring averaging 22 points per contest.
Ferrer, who was coached last year by Filipino basketball mind Bong Blancaflor, states Lucas has been a positive presence for the side on and off the court.
“As you know team Philippines is mostly Filipino,” Ferrer said. “But Chris came along and has adopted our style and adjusted to us. It has been all positive for him and the team. From the day he started practicing with us we have got on and we have clicked. In a way he was already used to us because last year he played in the Filipino basketball league for team PADI.”