Basketball player Charles Garcia urges migrants to follow their dreams

A REPORT FROM FOCUS TAIWAN.

Taipei Fubon Braves star player American forward Charles Garcia encouraged migrants in Taiwan, especially those from the Philippines who love basketball to follow their dreams.

Garcia was born in the United States to first generation migrants from the South American country of Belize. He told CNA Sunday that he hopes to give confidence to migrants playing basketball in Taiwan, especially when there are such great opportunities in the country.

Taiwan, renowned internationally for its swift and successful COVID-19 prevention work, is also home to almost 700,000 migrant workers, including over 151,000 from the Philippines who love basketball, with many playing in Filipino leagues across Taiwan.

“That’s what I want to do when I’m playing basketball as well. I want to bring kids exposure, kids from the Philippines, you know. There is great talent from all over the world. You never know, those kids who came from the bottom might be something,” Garcia said.

Growing up in a migrant family, Garcia said his father is Costa Rican and Belizean while his mother is Belizean, and they grew up in Belize and were first generation migrants to the U.S.

“They met in college and they created me. And that’s how I was born and that’s where our last name Garcia comes from,” he said.

As a child of migrants, Garcia said he also faced certain challenges growing up, such as politics, but he focused on what he loved and encourages others to do the same.

“Just never give up on your dream. You never know who is in the stands watching you. You got scouts all over the world now,” Garcia said.

“Look at where I came, my journey. I got a long journey full of basketball history. Where I am right now is a blessing. I never thought in my 32 years of playing professional basketball it would come to this,” Garcia said.

“The whole culture of Taiwan, the country of Taiwan just embraced me,” Garcia said.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) prepares to throw up the ball in an honorary starting jump ball with Charles Garcia (right) before the final game of the 2020 Fubon Cup Braves Basketball Tournament Sunday between the Formosa Dreamers and Taipei Fubon Braves. CNA photo Nov. 8, 2020
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) prepares to throw up the ball in an honorary starting jump ball with Charles Garcia (right) before the final game of the 2020 Fubon Cup Braves Basketball Tournament Sunday between the Formosa Dreamers and Taipei Fubon Braves.

His extensive experience includes playing for various teams in the NBA G League, the association’s official minor league basketball organization, and playing in professional leagues around the world, such as in South Korea and Spain.

He also played for the Taipei Fubon Braves in the regional ASEAN Basketball League, winning the recognition of fans across Taiwan and Asia before the league was forced to end its 2019-2020 season early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, the Braves suffered a 87-95 defeat by the Changhua-based Formosa Dreamers in the final game of the “2020 Fubon Cup Braves Basketball Tournament,” which also doubles as the second round of P.LEAGUE+ preseason games.

Garcia grabbed a total of 10 defensive rebounds, according to the official statistics provided by the league.

The newly anticipated P.LEAGUE+ season officially starts Dec. 19, with the Braves and the Dreamers to face each other in the opening game at Changhua County Stadium.

When asked about his goal for the upcoming season, Garcia said to “keep on going on the right track, and win another championship. Keep the Fubon Braves spirit alive.”

The Braves were Super Basketball League champions in the 2018-2019 season.

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