Syrian Plays Basketball in the Philippines

Michael Madanly, top basketball player, fleeing from the war-torn country of Syria, finds solace in the Philippines doing what he liked most – playing basketball.

According to Cláudio Loureiro Heads on LinkedIn, he is a native of Aleppo in Syria, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sadly, the place was the first to fall when the terrorists seized power in 2012. Today, the place has been damaged by the war between terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, and the ISIS, and he doesn’t know if he will ever see it as it was before..

He was very happy and contented in his country and never thought that he would leave it one day. He was a celebrated athlete in Syria, being the best player and MVP in his country. Until the war started in 2011 and turned everything into a nightmare.

They started to witness kidnappings and killings around them. As a matter of fact, his own brother has been kidnapped for 10 days and was released only after they paid the ransom. The brother did not have any government connections, but they assumed he was taken because of their faith. They were Christians in an Islamic country.

The war in his country forced Madanly to give up his basketball contract in Syria and moved in with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Meanwhile, his parents moved to Amsterdam and his brother to California to escape the Islamic terrorists’ revolution, leaving all their property and possessions behind.

He played in China up to the 5th season of CBA and was then imported by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) where he now plays under the NLEX Road Warriors.

Madanly has been playing basketball for 23 years; it is the love of the game that keeps him excited in the morning. And like a kid with a troubled life, he finds comfort on a basketball court which he found in the Philippines.

What he thought was a couple of months have been a couple of years now, and it looks like he may never come back there again. After his life was forcibly displaced, Madanly is in search of a place to stay permanently, and it seems to him that Manila will be his second Aleppo. After all, life in Syria seems very similar to the Philippines, especially the food. And the things he found good in Syria, were even better in the Philippines.

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