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Beneath The Bridge & Under The Bright Lights // DAYO23 Streetball Invitational

Posted by TITAN on

Street corners. In the middle of a bustling city. In between palm trees in a province town. Atop residential rooftops. Under a bridge. And everywhere in between.


Hoops are literally seen everywhere in the Philippines - dotting every landscape, inviting play at each turn. Every homecourt has defenders who guard their turf with pride and honor; the same way some visitors, famously referred to as ‘dayo’, try to seek and claim victory on foreign playgrounds.


May dayo.” (“There are visiting teams.”)

It’s a simple phrase that’s as straightforward as it gets - a call to a pick-up game that transforms players into warriors, and the ordinary court into a battleground of skill, pride, and passion. Yet, amidst the makeshift boards, shaky rings, uneven ground, faded lines, and the heated clash between two squads trying to assert dominance, there lies a mutual love for the game that vividly stands out - making every court a homecourt for all.


This was everything the DAYO23 Streetball Invitational by Jordan Brand and TITAN was all about. On a scorching May day in Manila, the court under the bridge in Brgy. 830 Court in Paco, Manila served as the backdrop to the Philippines’ unique and tough streetball culture - an unlikely playground that featured some of the best streetball squads hailing from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Taguig, San Juan, Laguna, Cainta, and Quezon City.


The two-day hoops spectacle further proved that the streets serve as the breeding ground where legends rise and passion ignites - in the physical, tough, and mean corridors of outdoor courts, where battles go on from sunup to sundown, no matter the weather.


DVT athlete Mark Barroca is no stranger to this scene. Like most basketball greats, his path to becoming one of the most respected players in the PBA started from the blacktop.


“Intensity, physicality, ‘yung mga gulang at antics sa paglalaro ng street basketball, doon mo matutunan ‘yun lahat. Dito ako nag-simula sa gilid-gilid streetball, lupa pa ang court. Naglalaro ako naka-paa, minsan naka-tsinelas. Tapos duma-dayo kami sa mga iba’t-ibang barangay para maglaro. Grabe intense ng laro kahit ice tubig - kahit sakitan para lang manalo,” said Barocca, a six-time PBA champion and two-time Finals MVP.


The same notion extends beyond league superstars; it resonates well within the women's basketball scene too. For many, their journey began with a love for the game fostered through streetball.


“It’s a simple way to spend time with your friends, whether you're playing the game that you love or just watching the people who are playing just to be entertained. For women, it's nice to have this kind of gathering kasi we have a small community lang, so it helps us to get to know each other more,” said National Athlete Raiza Palmera-Dy, who helped Team Hustle claim the crown and the ₱300,000 cash prize in the women’s division.


More than the competition, these settings function as community-gathering spots where female hoopers foster camaraderie and forge connections - giving them a sense of belonging. It's a sanctuary where they not only learn from each other but also get the chance to bring the women’s basketball scene to heights never reached before, a fact that was notably evident during the finals match-up between Team Baseline and Team Hustle, where household names such as Allana Lim, Afril Bernardino, Snow Peñaranda, and future stars like Tantoy Ferrer and Stef Bernabe came together to deliver a finals showdown that came down to the wire.


“DAYO23 gathered current national players and former national players like us, magkakasama in one court. That shows na marami pa rin gustong maglaro, they just need a platform and stage," said Palmera-Dy.

In a thrilling ending to the DAYO23 Streetball Invitational, Team Cebu from the men’s division embraced their status as “dayos”. As literal visitors navigating unfamiliar territory, they took on some incredibly tough competition and were crowned champions after outlasting HoopX, a squad composed of gritty ballers from around Manila.


“Literally, as dayos from Cebu, it felt really great. Personally, that was the first time I played on a court under a bridge. Usually, sa semento or sa gym ng mga barangay lang ako naglalaro. So with it being a new environment and experience, it was for sure a wonderful feeling for us Cebuanos,” told the Cebuano sniper Isaiah Hontiveros.


It was a fitting conclusion to the streetball tournament that celebrated the Filipino dayo hoops culture and the common love for the game among players from different regions and backgrounds.


“Street basketball teaches you how to be mentally tough. Of course, the game comes with a lot of physicality but it challenges players as to how they would react: will their emotions ruin the game or will they do better against adversity?” said Hontiveros.


In the grand scheme of things, DAYO23 has quickly established itself as a must-see cultural and hoops event. However, it's the tournament's authenticity that truly stood out. Much like the typical Filipino streetball game, it's been about pride, respect, and community spirit.

More than the electrifying 5v5 hoops action, the tournament also added layers of excitement that showcased the country’s rich culture. The TITAN Barbershop offered complimentary haircuts to both locals and players alike. Adorning the scene, a vibrant mural wall reflected the barangay streetball spirit. Street food stalls were set up to provide delights for all to enjoy. To top it all off, fans were treated to exciting 1v1 exhibition games, highlighted by a showdown between Filipino streetball stars “The Reaper” and “Kalye Irving.”


DAYO23 participants were equipped with some of Jordan Brand’s latest footwear - from Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamsons’ newest signature shoes to the brand’s innovative flagship performer, the Air Jordan XVIII.


To match the energy on the court, the competition included special performances from rising local hip-hop artist Alex Bruce and award-winning rapper Al James.


Check out the full recap of DAYO23: Stretball Invitational here.