Two Stephens, and Filipino fans turn out for Warriors | Inquirer
Emil Amok!

Two Stephens, and Filipino fans turn out for Warriors

/ 10:58 PM May 04, 2017

On the night of May 2nd, I was where my cousin would have wanted to be. Stephen Guillermo was a sports fan. Even more than a Giants fan; he was a typical Filipino who loved basketball and being from the South of Market, that meant the Golden State Warriors.

He also had the magic name: Stephen. Coincidentally, he pronounced it exactly like the Warriors’ star Curry.

On Tuesday, Stephen Curry was in Oakland at the Oracle Arena in a workman-like show of his elite skill. Just 1 for 4 in his three-point attempts, Curry was dazzling on his drives and cuts to the basket, shooting 7-11 from the field for 22 points, to lead the Warriors in a 106-94 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.


“He moves so well without the basketball his movement creates opportunities for other guys,” said assistant coach Mike Brown, who was filling in for injured coach Steve Kerr.

For you PBA ballers in the Philippines, we’ll get technical.

“A lot of time his man doesn’t want to help on the back-screen; therefore, the guy on the receiving end of the backscreen is going to get an open look at the rim if he cuts hard enough. If he sets a pin down, it’s the same thing. Just Steph being on the floor knowing he’s a threat to catch and shoot anytime, or come off the pick-and-roll and score at any time is a bonus for all of us. And tonight, (Utah) switched out a couple of times to some bigs on him, and again because of his ability to shoot the three-ball, they’re pressing up on him, which allowed him to dribble-drive by them.”


And get the high percentage shot. Get that Philippine ballers?


Noreen Juliano and her mother, Georgy at Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Final. INQUIRER/Emil

Overall, it resulted in a balanced Warrior attack on offense and defense, and up and down the lineup, that enabled the team to lead from the start and never let go. It took four minutes before Utah’s first score.

And if game 2 is anything like this, this one should be another short series for Stephen Curry and the Warriors. My cousin Stephen Guillermo would have liked to have seen it live.

Three years ago, after a night on the town May 2 celebrating his impending graduation from SF State, Stephen Guillermo was gunned down when he entered the wrong apartment.

His assailant, a retired security guard fired a single shot and then turned himself into police. My cousin died on May 3. I call him my cousin, but he always was respectful and called me Uncle.

As a journalist, I did what I could to make sure the story stayed in the public’s view. But here’s something that I didn’t realize. California’s self-defense laws are based on a centuries-old doctrine that goes back to the 1600s in England.

The Castle Doctrine says your home is your castle, and if you are threatened by an intruder, you may shoot to kill. It’s the basis of all self-defense laws, where the privileged, with arms and a home, are entitled. It leaves the most vulnerable out of luck. And on the other side of the barrel.

But more importantly, the California law presumes the shooter was in fear of their life. No DA wants to mess with that. And San Francisco DA George Gascon didn’t. The man who shot my cousin was held for three days, and then let go.

But shouldn’t one still be able to challenge the law’s presumption and bring the shooter to a jury to explain his actions? No. There is no provision for a mistake. Not even a manslaughter charge. The Castle Doctrine gave the shooter a get out of jail card. All we’re left with is the memory of Stephen.

When I saw Stephen Curry on Tuesday, guarded by a big at the 3 point line, then driving for a basket, I thought of my cousin Stephen Guillermo.

That Castle Doctrine was an impossible big, that kept our family from getting any sense of justice. That’s why after three years, I keep telling his story. It’s all we have. We live in a world that has come to revere guns and gives special privileges to those who own them.

It doesn’t matter where you live– in the U.S, or in the Philippines–Filipinos know how it feels to be on the wrong side of a privileged gun owner.


I’m still amazed to find so many Filipinos vacationing in the US, making a special trek to Oracle for these Warriors playoffs. I saw a family during the last series. At the start of this new series against Utah, I bumped into another family. But they were more media savvy.

Pictures? Answer questions? ”Ah, no thank you.”

Names? I got that “Are you kidding, kababayan?” look. Elites on vacation? They quickly walked away.

The American Filipinos were more talkative. Jennifer Aurelio, 46, was with her son, Jayden, who just turned 10. Next to them was family friend Jeffrey Hidalgo. They were all in Warrior gear on the top level of the lower bowl. The boys wore the Warrior hats with the “F,” for “Finals,” but I always think it stands for “Filipino.”

And then there was Noreen, 33, and her mother, Georgy Juliano, 62. “I loved basketball since high school in Cebu,” said Georgy Juliano, a Santo Tomas alumn. Georgy goes back to Danao City, Cebu once a year, and told me her family where neighbors of the Duterte clan before it moved to Davao.

While Noreen admitted a thing for Matt Barnes. Georgy, a dual citizen, had a thing for Duterte, all the way. “Of course,” Georgy said.  “I support him in the Philippines because he means what he says.”

Georgy was a student in the Philippines during Marcos times and while saying she was not pro-Marcos, she was not pro-Aquino. “Look at those bridges,” she said. “Those are Marcos’ things. The other presidents did nothing good for the Philippines. They just pocket the money.”

They left the good seats they were squatting in to take a closer look and then went back into the upper level. The game was beginning, and the politics were put aside.  We were on the same team again.

Emil Guilllermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator. Follow him

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TAGS: Golden State Warriors, NBA, professional basketball, Stephen Curry, Utah Jazz
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