She Got Game: Raine Ticzon

Published March 30, 2022, 12:30 PMMiguel Flores

NBA.com Philippines content creator Raine Ticzon talks about making it on her own and opening doors for more 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.

Raine Ticzon loves the Denver Nuggets.

In the Philippines, that's rare. Pinoys are usually drawn to the superstars—the type of players who create highlights worthy of being karaoke backgrounds—and the Los Angeles Lakers.

But there's something about the Nuggets for Raine. It has a lot to do with the unique way Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray play off each other. There are, of course, the things that all fans love like jerseys and fun social media accounts. For Raine, there's a lot about the ethereal way a massive Serbian horse enthusiast has mastered the NBA game. You can tell by the way she writes about them how the Nuggets just scratch an itch for her.

Maybe her basketball aesthetic comes from having such a unique and deep connection with basketball and sports in general.

Raine is the daughter of Richie Ticzon, a local college basketball legend-turned coach. Richie raised Raine as a single parent, so she got very close with her father after spending days going with him to work. She learned to play basketball early but the sport didn't really stick with her. She eventually tried high school varsity volleyball, which she enjoyed, but realized that her lack of height would be a hindrance to any future in the sport.

“Like many Filipino families, I’ve always been around sports. Unlike many Filipino families, it was more than just a hobby for us. My personal journey with sports was very shaky, to be honest,” she recalled.

“I live with a single dad, so a normal workday for us was going to practice or a game, then having dinner after. Before, I was very hopeful I could make my own sports career in volleyball, but realistically, since I’m short, I knew that it wasn’t very feasible.”

Luckily for Raine, she got her feet wet with hosting events in high school. She put two and two together and realized sports media was where she wanted to be. She knew exactly what job she wanted: courtside reporter.

Raine got very close to that goal in college. In 2018, she was a finalist for the courtside reporter hunt in the UAAP – the most prestigious collegiate sports league in the Philippines. Each of the eight member schools was assigned a courtside, who didn't just report during games but was also tasked to find stories for the basketball and volleyball teams.

Unfortunately, she didn’t make the cut. Auditioning for a courtside reporter gig is a grueling process. There are hundreds of applicants with different levels of experience. Even if you can write your scripts well and have a nose for stories, you’ll still be judged for how you look and talk on-camera. It’s mentally draining. Being analyzed and dissected like that brought out a lot of Raine’s insecurities.

“I've always had body image issues and during the interview process, I don’t think I had the best support around me. I was told by people very close to me that I won’t get the part because of the way I look; usually that I was too big to be a reporter,” she said.

“It sucks, but that’s the reality of on-cam women in the media. Because of that,  I’ve always been envious of other girls who are more traditionally beautiful compared to myself. I know it's shallow, but it's a very unfortunate reality for me.”

Raine still wants to be a courtside reporter someday. She never really stopped pursuing her dream of being in sports media, despite her early speed bump. Fresh out of college, she’s already a published writer with NBA.com Philippines, not just a Twitter take machine like most of us. She also works with the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas on its website and as a social media content creator. Recently, she joined Puso Pilipinas, a sports social media content initiative by Smart that aims to connect local athletes with fans by telling their stories. 

There’s a certain care in the content Raine creates – the type of sincerity that comes from someone with firsthand experience in sports – whether that be as a basketball daughter, athlete, or fan. She does hear people doubting her capabilities. It’s hard enough being a woman in sports but Raine also has to deal with people constantly questioning how she got her opportunities. Is it because she’s Richie Ticzon’s daughter? No.

“I never liked being attached to ‘Coach Richie's daughter’ specifically because I want to be known as my own self. I wanted people to see that there's more to me than my last name. I want people to see that I actually know what I’m talking about. I actually am smarter than people think I am, or that I know my basketball enough to deserve wherever I am right now.”

Raine remembers her favorite assignment fondly. She was tasked to cover Gilas Pilipinas – the Philippines men’s basketball national team – in its bubble training earlier this year. She remembered being so excited to work that she couldn’t sleep in the bubble.

She also remembers how she was the only woman working in the media there. Women have found their space in the local sports scene but there’s definitely a need for more of them in different areas. 

“Being one of the only girls my age in an area as big as the national team made me feel so uncomfortable. But I knew that if I work hard enough to earn a seat at the table, it was going to help not only advance my own career, but it will also normalize having young powerful women in the space,” Raine said.

She doesn’t have a lot of women to look up to in the local sports television industry. She wants to be what Malika Andrews and Doris Burke are to her for the girls wanting to find their place in sports.

“I honestly don't have a solid plan on how to get there since I am still young and inexperienced, but I think the little things like attending commentary classes, hosting basketball shows, writing and reading about basketball any time I can are really putting me in the right direction. I’m just trying to prepare myself so when opportunity knocks, I’ll be ready to burst right in.”

“For me, my work in sports goes beyond just a paycheck. It’s inviting more women into the space and opening up more opportunities to young girls. I want girls to see me and every female around me and think, ‘I can do that.’ I want these girls to be comfortable in disrupting change, especially in male-dominant industries like basketball.”

It’s going to be a long road, but Raine is walking it gladly. Whether it’s with a mic, a pen, or a smartphone, just stay ready for when Raine drops some fire content.