I worry more for Pinoy NBA Finals gamblers 

By Alex P. Vidal

“No wife can endure a gambling husband; unless he is a steady winner.”—Thomas Dewar

WHEN Dallas Mavericks couldn’t nail the win in Game 3 of its best-of-seven NBA Finals tussle versus Boston Celtics June 12 night, it was in danger of heading to the NBA exit in this year’s season with a 0-4 shutout loss—unless it repulses the visitors in Game 4 at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on June 14.

Whether the Western Conference champion could survive Game 4 and extend the championship battle didn’t worry us anymore.

The excitement was gone after Boston Celtics roared to a commanding 2-0 lead. It’s now 3-0 and the Eastern Conference boss is a win shy of the 2024 NBA crown.

Led by Eastern Conference MVP Jaylen Brown and All-Star Jayson Tatum, the Celtics are currently -220 favorites to win the championship. After notching the best regular-season record, Boston defeated the Heat, Cavaliers and Pacers in the Eastern Conference playoffs en route to its second Finals appearance since 2022.

What worries us most is the way some Filipino NBA gamblers in New York and, perhaps, in other basketball-crazed states waste their hard-earned money by losing heavily in betting.


Alyas Pastor, 46, of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, lost $1,800 (Philippine Pesos 105,300) in Game 3.

Pastor, a chef in an Indonesian restaurant in Astoria, Queens, placed the bet on Mavericks, which succumbed to Celtics, 99-106.

Placing a bet with the same team on June 9, Pastor lost $800 (P46,800) in Game 2 June 9 when Celtics bludgeoned his favorite team,105-98.

Pastor gets a salary of $800 a week and was able to work despite an expired tourist visa (he entered the US in 2014). He has three school kids and a wife who is unemployed in the Philippines.

Sources didn’t confirm if he placed a bet for Game 4.

Alyas Maurice, 58, of Tiglawigan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, lost a total of $4,000 (P234,000) during the playoffs when he gambled for the Minnesota Timberwolves, which was ousted by the Mavericks, 1-4 in the Western Conference finals.

Maurice works as utility at the Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, where his wife is a staff. After being repeatedly cajoled by his wife, Maurice skipped betting in the Finals.

Alyas Boy Davao, 48, of Bansalan, Davao del Sur in Mindanao lost $2,600 (P152,100) when Celtics blanked Indiana Pacers, 4-0, in the Eastern Conference Finals.


A dishwasher in a Latino restaurant in Ditmars, Queens, Boy Davao believed and convinced fellow bettors Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith and sophomore guard Andrew Nembhard would pilot the Pacers to the Eastern Conference title and eventually to the NBA championship.

It was not known if he was still betting in the NBA Finals.

“The problem with with Boy Davao is he has been in a very bad mood these past weeks even when he was working. All the money he lost were cash advance and his wife was always calling on the Messenger scolding him,” revealed a Latino co-worker who refused to be named.

“These shocking stories about Pinoy gamblers working hard to eke out a living in order to help their families in the Philippines breaks my heart,” quipped alyas Tatang Balahibu, 71, a retired truck driver from Woodbury, Minnesota who now resides in Woodhaven, Queens with his wife, a former schoolteacher in Calasiao, Pangasinan.

“Pati pamilya nila sa Pilipinas apektado na. Ang pagsusugal isa yan sa sakit ng mga OFW hindi lang dito sa Amerika kundi pani na sa buong mundo (Even their families in the Philippines are already affected. Gambling is really a sickness among OFWs not only in America but also in other countries all over the world),” sobbed Tatang Balahibu.


Below is information forwarded to me by someone at 10:45 in the evening June 13 after searching my complete name or about me (not in Google) from Microsoft Copilot, a generative artificial intelligence chatbot developed by Microsoft. Based on a large language model, Wikipedia said Copilot was launched in February 2023 and is Microsoft’s primary replacement for the discontinued Cortana:

Certainly! Alex P. Vidal, the dedicated journalist, has fearlessly tackled critical issues in his reporting. Here are a couple of examples:

“Still risky and dangerous”: In this article, Alex discusses the scandal-ridden and defective P680-million Ungka flyover in Pavia, Iloilo. He metaphorically compares opening the unfinished flyover to allowing a newly circumcised male adult to participate in a horse race or a recently operated prostitute to return to the brothel. His bold stance emphasizes safety and accountability.

“Troll farms-AI tie up a threat vs election integrity”: Alex delves into the threat posed by troll farms and AI to election integrity. His insightful commentary sheds light on the challenges faced by democratic processes in the digital age.

These examples showcase Alex P. Vidal’s courage and commitment to responsible journalism.


Connecting directly with Alex P. Vidal might be challenging, but you can explore the following avenues to engage with his work and insights:

Online Articles: Search for his articles online. Many journalists have personal websites or contribute to established news platforms. Look for his bylines and explore his writing.

Social Media: Check if he has a presence on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Journalists often share their work and engage with readers there.

Local Events: Attend local journalism events, workshops, or conferences. Alex might participate as a speaker or panelist. It’s an opportunity to connect in person.

Contact News Outlets: Reach out to the publications where he contributes. They might forward your message or provide relevant contact information.

Remember, persistence and genuine interest can lead to meaningful connections!

I’m not ashamed to admit I was overwhelmed by copilot’s kind words about me. Thank you so much.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)