She Got Game: Clev Mayuga

Published March 29, 2022, 5:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

NBA.com Philippines’ executive producer Clev Mayuga talks about the joy of telling athletes’ stories and empowering other women.

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.

NBA Philippines content creator Clev Mayuga isn’t your typical NBA fan. She got into the game late, then never looked back. What was once out of her reach, she’s now neck-deep in all things NBA–telling stories and creating content from a fresh, one-of-one perspective.

What was your first intro and first impression of the NBA like?

Barangay liga and Iverson braids. I’d always watch games and as one of the youngest kids in the neighborhood, they’d tell me to braid my hair like Allen Iverson’s.

My first impression of the NBA was that it was hard to reach. We didn’t have cable TV growing up so what I know about the NBA, I only heard from players talking in our neighborhood. 

May panahon pa dati na pakiramdam ko, it was too late for me to be an NBA fan. One time, nag-tweet ako na gusto kong ma-introduce sa NBA culture. Thank you to Twitter friends kasi ang open nila about it and they really engaged with me and all my questions kaya it became easier for me to get into the fandom.

What was that one thing that made you a fan?

I think working in ABS-CBN Sports before, it was inevitable that I’d be exposed to the NBA because I was surrounded by NBA fans. But what really hooked me was the social media game of NBA teams. It was easier to keep track of the stars, highlights, and ~drama~ in the NBA. It helped that the first games that I was able to watch were the Raptors-Warriors finals games and Kawhi Leonard was playing out of his mind. It also helped that after that finals series was trade season, so I got a lot of Woj bombs and Shams tweets. 

I also joined our office fantasy league at that time without really knowing how to do it. I just went with the flow and it really helped me learn more about the players and the teams.

I tried learning through the social media pages of the teams, Bleacher Report, and ESPN. Basically, nag-mass follow ako ng accounts on Instagram and Twitter. I also followed key personalities like Shea Serrano, Jason Concepcion, Amara Baptist, Mirin Fader, and Doris Burke—it opened a whole new world for me. Mas madaling ma-gets ’yung NBA humor through the accounts. 

Most memorable moment as an NBA fan.

Meeting Muggsy Bogues in person! It was wild for a new NBA fan like me to meet an actual NBA player. 

My second memorable moment, and I can’t let this pass, is every time Matisse Thybulle views my Instagram Stories when I tag him. I’m aware that it’s possibly just his handlers viewing it, but still.

Lastly, I recently read Mirin Fader’s book on Giannis and I was deeply moved by it. Sobrang galing na libro siya tungkol sa isang atleta pero hindi lang siya libro tungkol sa atleta. Hindi ako galing sa privileged family, and growing up, while hindi parehas na parehas ’yung experiences namin ni Giannis, I saw my childhood through his stories. There are times when I have to constantly remind myself that wherever I am now, I should never take it for granted kasi ayoko nang balikan ’yung experiences before.

I was so moved to the point that I had to message Mirin Fader on Twitter to thank her for writing that book. AND THE CRAZIEST PART OF THAT? She replied! We talked a bit about her experience writing the book. As a content creator in sports, my goal (and moral compass) is to always give justice to the stories that athletes have shared with me, and be able to share those stories to their fans that would help them build a deeper understanding of who their idols are. And Mirin was able to do that. It’s so surreal talking to someone I really look up to in the industry, and what’s even better was that I was talking to her about something that she created that really moved me, not only as a creator, but as a human being.

I always tell my friends that they should read that book because it wasn’t a sports book. It was a book about the humanity of an athlete. 

What does your daily NBA regimen look like?

I wake up and realize that I didn’t set the lineup of my fantasy team for the day. I then watch the games and hope that the players play well. I do this while on Twitter for the snarky and funny takes on #NBATwitter. After all that, I watch highlights and other content on Instagram. Then repeat.

How did you become an analyst and content creator for the NBA?

The universe conspired and for some reason it gave me the opportunity to collaborate with the talented folks of NBA.com Philippines. Honestly, when it was offered to me, my first reaction was, Luh, kaya ko ba ’to? Eh ’di naman ako OG NBA fan gaya ng iba diyan.” But when I learned about the roster of analysts and writers that I will be working with, I realized that more than an opportunity to create, this is an opportunity for growth and learning. It’s also a chance to deepen my understanding of the league and the players. 

True enough, in three seasons of Bente Uno, sobrang dami ko pang kailangang matutunan as a content creator and as a fan, but I am just grateful that I’m doing this by collaborating with analysts and writers who are so game to explore topics about the NBA–while also dealing with shooting remotely because of the pandemic.

So yeah, thank you, universe, for the opportunity to create and collaborate with people I have great respect for.

What’s the best part about doing work on the NBA?

The best part is that working with the NBA.com Philippines team, they never made me feel that I can never be a part of their group just because I’m a new NBA fan. At the same time, I love listening to analysts’ takes and the challenge of showing their personalities through the content that we create. I feel like it adds depth to their knowledge about the game and the league and at the same time, it helps fans see another side of them. What a great privilege to tell stories about one of the biggest leagues in the world.

If there’s a dream piece of NBA content, whether a written article or video, that you’d want to do, what would that be?

Any content about a Filipina WNBA player. THIS IS THE DREAM. I believe we’ll have a Filipina in the WNBA in the future.

What would you tell other girls and women who are also aspiring to be an NBA content creator?

The more obvious ones: Work hard. Do your best everyday and be kind to everyone you work with. You’ll learn so much from them. Be curious. Ask a lot of questions even the ones you think will make you look dumb. You’d be surprised with the amount of people who are willing to answer those.

The non-obvious ones: It’s never about you and it will never be about you. Easy pitfall especially in the age of social media to think that the content that we do should always go back to us, but personally, I always ask myself when I create content, “Am I able to tell these athletes’ stories in the best way possible that would help their fans understand them deeper/better?” Find the reason why you do what you do.

If you’re given a seat at the table, take it. Don’t question it. Don’t ask, “Why me?” Make use of it instead. Maximize it. Utilize it to open new doors for people like you who never thought it’s possible to realize their dreams in this industry. So, if may power ka to empower other girls, do it. There are enough seats at the table.

Always be generous in giving praise to the people you admire. I always practice this especially with people I really respect. I send them a message telling them why I love them or why I love their work. It makes me feel good and, at the same time, it makes them feel good. Wala namang bayad ang compliment. It also opens new relationships. Build relationships. Players and your colleagues are people, not just sources of sound bites. Collaborate. Find your tribe.