She Got Game is a five-part series featuring the women content creators of NBA.com Philippines. As part of our Women’s Month celebration, we shine the spotlight on women who continue to elevate the sports media landscape with their stories and love for the game.
Whether you’re in the Philippines or an ocean away, being interested in basketball is just human nature for Filipinos. Gilas Pilipinas Women and NU Lady Bulldogs guard Camille Clarin is no exception. Like many Pinoys, basketball was a means for her to bond with other people in her community growing up.
“I got into basketball because it was just a big family thing. Obviously, for Filipinos, basketball is in your genes,” said Clarin.
As a shooter herself, Clarin looks up to NBA and WNBA 3-point champions Ray Allen, Klay Thompson, and Allie Quigley.
When Clarin picked up a basketball at 10 years old, she found herself feeling left out at first. The strong Filipino community in Canada was very supportive, but women’s basketball was almost unheard of back then. Clarin had to play in all-boys leagues, which caused a lot of confusion and awkwardness both for her and the other players.
“Sometimes the guys wouldn’t respect me or they’d be like ‘oh, we don’t want to guard her,’” Clarin recalled. “As the game went on, they started to respect me, then we would end up becoming friends. I think it carries over that if you play well, they’ll respect your game and kind of forget the whole gender barrier thing.”
It was a different kind of struggle when she moved to the Philippines to play for National University. Aside from having to adjust to a new environment, she also had to battle with the general lack of support for women’s sports.
“I think moving forward here in the Philippines, the biggest struggle and definitely the downfall was that it’s a very male-dominated industry here,” said Clarin. “I think support was definitely a struggle, but I see it slowly but surely picking up.”
Clarin confidently faced and embraced the challenges head-on. Three years later, Clarin is now one of the most recognizable women’s basketball players in the Philippines. She made an impact on the Lady Bulldogs as a rookie in 2019. Later on, she got the opportunity to represent the country as part of Gilas Pilipinas Women’s 3x3 and 5x5 teams.
Off the court, Clarin has also been making waves in the world of sports media. As an All-Star Analyst for NBA.com Philippines and one of the hosts of NBA Hype on Cignal TV, she’s able to share her love for the game with Pinoy fans, as well as advocate for women’s sports. Through her media coverage, she continues to push women’s basketball at the forefront.
“I definitely think I've been able to carry the torch from the previous generation and I’ve been able to shine a light on it just because of my type of personality,” said Clarin. “It’s not just about me leading the way. It’s about me bringing them to the way with me. You’re not only playing for yourself, you’re playing for all the other girls that are coming up after me.”
But of course, the work has only just begun. In the last three years that Clarin has been in the Philippines, she’s witnessed changes to women’s basketball, both locally and internationally. The NBA, in particular, has been making strides in promoting and supporting women in basketball.
“I think the NBA finally sees their responsibility in picking up their partner league,” Clarin said. “I think just them feeling the responsibility to pick up their female equivalents, that’s good self-awareness on their part. I think that it should only pick up from here.”
While there’s still a long way to go for women’s basketball to get the support and media coverage that it deserves, it’s all about moving the conversation forward.
“Women’s sports are the ‘new’ thing to follow, but they also have to realize that we’ve been doing it for as long as they have. We just haven’t gotten the recognition,” said Clarin. “Until people start to listen, that’s just what you have to do.”
Clarin hopes to use her platform to further contribute to the advancement of women’s sports in the Philippines. She also hopes to inspire young athletes to follow their passion no matter the odds.
“Whether you’re in sports or not, just follow what you’re passionate about. I think a lot of us kind of stray from the path and go with what society wants us to do just because that’s the easier thing. But in the end, you’re the one who’s going to lose,” said Clarin. “If you follow your passion despite what people say, you’ll never go wrong. Obviously, it’s going to be a tough journey but eventually, you’ll find your tribe and you’ll realize the journey isn’t so lonely.”