Filipinos join sea of humanity to hail Warriors in victory parade
At 74 years old, Sam Mendoza (extreme right shown with two grandsons) from Dagupan, Pangasinan and Alameda City is one of the oldest Filipinos who came to see the victory parade. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum
OAKLAND, California — It was the turn of the Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors’ (GSW) fans to exemplify the Warriors’ slogan “Strength in Numbers” as a sea of humanity, mostly in yellow and blue, flooded the major streets of downtown Oakland at the team’s victory parade last week.
The Warriors had conquered their archrival, winning the 2017 National Basketball of America (NBA) Championship in Oracle Arena.
In an impromptu picnic-style, special family-bonding event many eager fans, some coming from as far south as Los Angeles, staked out spots along the sidewalks downtown Oakland the night before the parade, bringing along with them mats, blankets, pillows, food and water to ensure a good vantage for the parade. The last parade was in 2015 when the Warriors won the crown.
Also on hand were enterprising individuals selling merchandise including T-shirts, pins, horns, shot glasses, caps, hotdogs, bacon sandwich, even flowers while some others promoted their products by giving away energy drinks, water and posters emblazoned with brands.
Under the searing heat of the sun on a glorious day, the estimated crowd of about 500,000 to 1 million men and women, from as young as two months old to those in their 80s, in all forms and shapes, races and colors packed the parade route and the rally venue at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. Children played cards, people danced while others ate food and drank water as they waited for the parade to pass in front of them.
Some of the celebrities spotted aside from Warriors players and front office top officials were Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Libby Schaaf of Oakland and lone Fil-Am State Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
“I am here to support the Warriors who have something special because they bring the community together whether you are from Oakland, San Jose or from San Francisco as much as they play with teamwork in mind,” stressed Fil-Am San Jose executive Anthony Rivero.
“It is the one key things we can learn from the Warriors. I want my kids here with me to learn that perseverance and teamwork win in the end,” Rivero added.
Rivero also hoped that the Warriors would win more championships in the next years to be in track for a basketball dynasty that pundits observed as looming.
Eugene dela Cruz of Pleasant Hill, who also came with wife, Cathy, and their two kids, believes the addition of eventual Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant solidified Warriors’ claim to history.
“Kevin Durant had a huge impact guarding Lebron James, becoming the focal point of the Warriors. He is the go-to-guy and also freed up Curry to do what he had to do. I did not think they would have a repeat loss of the championship just like last year. I expected a good game from the Cavaliers as they were champions too. They are going to come up fighting as what top athletes do,” dela Cruz said.
Young Fil-Am Jay Sen who came with friends from Vallejo confessed that they took a self-imposed day-off to attend the parade.
“We are right here celebrating the Dubs. We are staying well with Kevin Durant. That is the importance of having him,” Sen exclaimed. “Even after the loss in the fourth game, I had no doubt. We believe…strength in numbers.”
Sen’s friend Michael Escano believes that there will be a Warriors dynasty in the NBA.
“Do you see what we have in our team? We have Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Zsazsa Pachulia, Javael McGee? We got everybody,” Escano exclaimed.
“Hey Lebron I am a big fan, man. Come to the Bay Area and join the Warriors soon. We will have ten straight championships, you know what I am saying. We will be unbelievable,” Escano teased.
Probably one of the oldest Filipinos in the parade, Sam Mendoza, 74 years old from Dagupan, Pangasinan and Alameda City and who still walks five miles a day to keep fit, came to the celebration with his grandsons.
“If players stay with the Warriors and do not transfer to other teams, we may stay champions for a long time,” Mendoza opined.
Sybil Conde, a mother from Taguig City and Hillsborough, tagged along 21-month-old son, Reef, said Kevin Durant is a real contribution to the team because Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes are gone.
“Lebron James, on the other, hand, in a way helped the Warriors start the dynasty mentality when he got some key players to create his own ‘dream teams’ in Cleveland and also Miami in his desire to make his teams champions. And in the same manner, the Warriors, in adding Kevin Durant in its already deep bench, did the same.”
South San Francisco Warriors diehard Maria del Mundo-Ingco always utilized watching Warriors game, either on TV or at the Oracle Arena, as quality bonding time with daughter, Lexy.
“Our guys have a lot of passion and Durant brings even more of it. It’s so transparent how much he loves the game and he works hard to achieve his goals. He fits in with the team (and the Bay Area) seamlessly, it’s just so fun to watch! I really hope he retires with the Warriors, he’s an exceptional player,” noted.
“It was just the cherry on top of an amazing season to win the title on our home court. I was there at Oracle that night and it was electric. Seeing my daughter with tears in her eyes when KD was announced as the MVP (who she’s been a fan of even when he wasn’t on our team) was really special,” del Mundo-Ingco said further.
Gladys Salenga from Richmond, who works at an office in downtown Oakland, was somewhat disappointed. Together with co-workers, she had to be contented with doing their celebration within their office looking down at the parade grounds.
“The 3-0 was a sign to bring out the broom (sweep); however, I loved the fact that the win game was at home. Was that intentional? I don’t know but it makes winning much sweeter and special,” Salenga mused.
Speaking for his late daughter Kimberly Nuestro, a young basketball player and an ardent fan and follower of Steph Curry, dad Ramir Nuestro intimated that Kimberly became more excited when Durant went to Warriors and was sure that the Warriors would be champions again.
“She told me before she died that the Warriors would be 16-0 in the playoffs and the finals. She was also certain that Durant will be the finals MVP. I don’t know if it is coincidence that Kimberly turned 16 on April 21 and after 16 days she died,” Ramir curiously pointed out.
“And on this day of the Warriors victory parade that falls on Kimberly’s 40th day, our family thanks the Warriors for winning the championship. My daughter will be so happy right now in heaven. I just wish I could bring her back to life to celebrate the championship with us. Again, thanks to Steph for signing my daughter’s shoes.”
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