Raymond Townsend: first Filipino in the NBA

With the FIBA World Cup fast approaching this August in Spain, the Filpino dreams of a Filipino player making into the NBA resurfaces. 

Japeth Aguilar tried this idea of joining the most popular tournament among Filpino Basketball fans during the 2012 NBa off-season.

On September 12, 2012, Japeth Aguilar was evaluated by two NBA scouts in California, one of which is said to be from the San Antonio Spurs. Aguilar was tasked to do workout sessions that consists of basic game-simulation NBA drills.
Days before the evaluation, Aguilar attended some open workouts, including the ones hosted by the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League. Aguilar's team lost but he had managed to put up great statistics, ending up with 10 points after making five of the nine shots he attempted, including three electrifying dunks. He topped his effort by adding five massive blocks, four rebounds and an assist. After the workout with Bakersfield Jam, Aguilar is said to have made it to the top 20 among 80 players who have attended the open workout.
Late September 2012, Aguilar has been invited to a two-day workout for another NBA team in the Eastern Conference. He is said to have worked out with the New Orleans Hornets. After the workout, Hornets scout Don Sellers liked Aguilar's athleticism, agility and potential, but believes Aguilar is not yet ready for the NBA.
Early October 2012, Aguilar worked out with the NBA D-League Team Santa Cruz Warriors. The Warriors said they would draft him if he is still available when their turn comes in the draft.[13]
On November 2, Japeth Aguilar’s pursuit of his NBA dream got closer to reality after he became the first ever Filipino to be drafted in the NBA Developmental League. Santa Cruz Warriors, the D-League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, selected Aguilar as the thirteenth pick in the seventh round, selected as 109th overall out of 139 players. Aguilar, who attended a series of workouts with several NBA teams before joining the NBA D-League draft, was described as a “work in progress” by the New Orleans Hornets talent scout Don Sellers.
After surviving two cuts, Santa Cruz Warriors waived Aguillar on November 22.
On December 5, Japeth Aguilar signs a Practice Player Contract with Santa Cruz Warriors,a NBA D-League team. After being the last man cut from the NBA D-League team, the Santa Cruz Warriors, he was offered a spot on the practice line-up.  But after surviving different cuts in the line-up, he's dreams might come to an end as he was one of the two players who were cut because the Warriors were only allowed to have 10 players.

But did you know that there was already a Filipino player who played in the NBA?

His name is Raymond "Ray" Anthony Townsend who was born on December 20, 1955 San Jose, California to a Filipina from Balayan, Batangas while his father, Ray Sr., is American.His brother, Kurtis Townsend, is an assistant coach for the University of Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team which won the 2008 NCAA Championship.

He is half-Filipino and half-American.
A 6'3", 175-lb. point guard, Townsend attended Camden High School and Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California before playing college basketball at UCLA with the Bruins. 
As a high school senior, he averaged close to 28 points a game for the Camden High Cougars. This was prior to the 3 point line being regulated years later. He was a member of the 1975 UCLA Basketball National Championship team, legendary coach John Wooden's 10th and final NCAA championship team.
He was selected with the last pick in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. He averaged 4.8 pts.,1.0 rebs. and 1.4 assts. per game during his 3 year tenure in the NBA. He played two seasons with the Warriors and wrapped his NBA career with the Indiana Pacers.

He also played in Italy for Banco Roma during the 1984-85 season.

A 1976 Sports Illustrated issue featured Townsend's father, Ray Sr., in its "Faces in the Crowd" section. He was recognized as "the oldest junior college basketball player in history." At age 39, he was the second man off the bench.
Townsend, now a youth sports development coordinator in San Jose, California, was honored as UCLA Filipino Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year on May 2, 2009.
And now who will follow Raymond Townsend as the next NBA player in the NBA? You never can tell.

--- Jay-R U. Bayon-on with reports from the wires

Raymond Townsend: first Filipino in the NBA Raymond Townsend: first Filipino in the NBA Reviewed by Phil Newsome on 2/04/2014 Rating: 5

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