Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lauro "The Fox" Mumar: The Boholano Captain Ball of the Greatest RP Basketball Team

 Legendary Lauro Mumar
DID YOU KNOW THAT a Boholano was the captain ball of the greatest Philippine team ever assembled that placed third behind the USA and Brazil in the 1954 World Basketball Championship of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? 

Their third place finish behind the USA and Brazil produced a bronze medal, the best finish ever by the Philippines in the World Championships and considered truly extraordinary considering that only a handful of countries from around the world had placed in the top three of international basketball sanctioned by the world’s highest governing body in that sport. 

Lauro "Bai" Mumar, (6 March 1924 – 20 December 1990) who is considered as one of the greatest Filipino players of his time, playing alongside compatriot & another basketball  legend Carlos Loyzaga had his early taste of basketball played mostly in makeshift goals & halfcourt games in his coastal hometown of Talibon under the scorching heat of the sun.

In 1946, the 6' 1" center captained the provincial team of the Colegio de San Carlos (now University of San Carlos) of Cebu City to the first post-war Inter-Collegiate Basketball Championship in Manila against the battle- tested & powerhouse Manila- based collegiate basketball teams of Ateneo de Manila & the University of Santo Tomas.

Legendary Boholano in the 1951 RP Team

Also known as "The Fox" for his cunning & wily ways in the court, Mumar also led the Manila Ports Terminal that swept the 1946, 1949 and 1950 championships of the Manila Industrial Commerical Athletic Association (MICAA) then the country’s major basketball league.
 with the late Herminio Silva who coached the 1954 RP Team 
Realizing the importance of a college diploma, he later transferred to Letran College and together with Herminio "Togay" Astorga they formed the famous "Murder Inc." and eventually led the Letran Knights basketball team to capture the 1950 NCAA Philippines championship. Back then, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was the most prestigious basketball league in the Philippines. 

Mr. Mumar had four major international stints. He played for the Philippines that finished 12th in the 1948 Summer Olympics held at London, England, United Kingdom. He later went on to represent the country in two consecutive Asian Games and won two basketball gold medals in 1951 and 1954 respectively. 
1954 RP Team: greatest Philippine team ever assembled

Lazada Philippines
Mumar was later named co-captain with Carlos Loyzaga to lead the national team to the 1954 FIBA World Championship held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The team finished third and captured the bronze medal, the best finish ever by the Philippines in the World Championships 

 Lauro at his prime 
The victory in 1951 was to be the start of an impressive four consecutive basketball gold medals in the quadrennial Asian Games with the Philippines dominating the field in 1954, 1958 and 1962 which would be the last time the country would win the Asiad gold.

When he retired from playing basketball, he was given the honor to coach the Indian national basketball team and later coached the Philippines to a third-place finish in the 1969 Asian Basketball Confederation (now FIBA Asia Championship).

In 1999, he was honored by his country by being installed in the Philippine National Basketball Hall of Fame alongside his great teammate Carlos Loyzaga.  Aside from being known for owning a good fake and who learned the art of foul- baiting, the quick fox- like Mumar could penetrate tight defenses and was also a good outside shooter. 

His son, Lawrence "Larry" Mumar, who was a collegiate basketball star for UST and later turned into a superb PBA player,  is the former husband of Coney Reyes, and father of L.A. and Carla.

By bringing back the story of Lauro Mumar's extraordinary & exemplary achievement in sports, it is hoped that the present generation of young Boholanos would realize that nothing can stand in the way when you have the sheer talent and backed up by one’s determination and discipline. 

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