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Super Bowl Champion Jordan Norwood And 6 Other Athletes With Filipino Blood Making It Big Overseas

We're ready to conquer the world of sports!
by Ron Jay Eduvas | Feb 11, 2016
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Manny Pacquiao’s boxing triumphs cemented the idea that Filipinos are indeed capable of becoming world-class athletes. The achievements of fellow champion pugilists Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr., and Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Villoria also contributed to this claim.

Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas and their undying quest for global basketball glory showed topnotch resiliency and hoops skills that impressed many sports fans around the world. Remember that kid who wanted to exchange Manu Ginobili’s jersey for a Jimmy Alapag Gilas uniform?

Through these success stories and our unabashed admiration of anything that shows #PinoyPride, other athletes with Pinoy blood (or at least have proven Filipino roots) are likely to be recognized as representatives of our proud lineage, even if they're plying their trade on foreign soil.

We list down several of these notable athletes below who are competing at the highest level abroad...and succeeding!

Jordan Norwood (
Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos)

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The 29-year-old seven-year National Football League (NFL) veteran is the younger brother of Rain Or Shine Elasto Painter and Gilas member Gabe Norwood. Just recently his team, the Denver Broncos, won Super Bowl 50, beating the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers, 24-10.

During the game, Jordan recorded the longest punt return in Super Bowl history. The Filipino-American wide receiver ran down the field for a 61-yard gain after catching Carolina's Brad Nortman's punt.

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Jason Day (Professional Golfer, PGA member)

Filipino-Australian Day is currently ranked as the third-best golfer in the world. He has participated in major golfing events such as the Open Championship, Master's Tournament, the US Open, and the PGA Tour where he became champion last year.

Day was raised by his mom, Dening, after his father passed away when he was just 12. He also has his pretty wife, Ellie, who might not be the biggest LeBron James fan after their loose ball encounter in Cleveland last December.

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Addison Russell (Infielder, Chicago Cubs)

Born to a Filipina mom, the 22-year-old is considered by baseball magazine Baseball America as the third-best prospect in professional baseball. He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in April 2015 as the starting shortstop and second baseman for the Chicago Cubs. Russell has hit 13 homers and batted in 54 runs so far in his young MLB career.

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He also has a chest tattoo that resembles the Philippine archipelago. His beautiful wife, Melissa, is a Filipina.


Natalie Coughlin (Olympic Medalist, Swimmer)

Natalie is a 12-time Olympic medalist and was the first woman to finish the 100-meter backstroke long course in less than a minute.

She appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue back in 2012 and in last year's ESPN Magazine's The Body Issue. She was also part of the ninth season of Dancing With The Stars.

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Her mom, Zennie, is half-Filipino while her grandmother hails from Cavite. Natalie's a big fan of lumpia and halo-halo. In fact, she even has her own lumpia recipe, which you can check out here.

Lizzie Armanto (Professional Skater)

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Lizzie, a 23-year-old pro skater, hails from Santa Monica, California. She has already won over 30 skateboarding awards, including top honors in the Women's Skateboard Park category at X-Games Barcelona in 2013. When asked about her ethnicity, she says she's one-fourth Filipino.

Her accomplishments have been widely recognized in the pro skateboarding circuit, earning her praises from legendary skaters Steve Caballero and Bucky Lasek.

Jordan Clarkson
 (Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Lakers)

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The Lakers' talented sophomore shooting guard has repeatedly expressed his willingness to represent the Philippines in basketball. Though he didn't make it to Coach Tab Baldwin's final lineup for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship due to scheduling concerns, his name has been included in Gilas Pilipinas' 17-man pool for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

An NBA All-Rookie First Team member last year, Clarkson is currently averaging 15.2 points and almost four boards a game. Together with fellow sophomore Julius Randle and rookie D'Angelo Russel, he is viewed as one of the rising stars and future cornerstones of the fabled franchise.

Kobe Paras
 (Shooting Guard, UCLA)

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The high-flying son of PBA legend Benjie Paras is no newbie when it comes to international play. Kobe represented the Philippines in the 2013 and 2015 FIBA 3x3 Under-18 World Championship. He also won the slam dunk title in both tourneys.

Kobe recently finished high school in LA Cathedral where he played for the school's basketball varsity, averaging 15 points and four boards a game. In November 2015, he officially committed to play college ball for the UCLA Bruins—an NCAA Division I program and the alma mater of NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Reggie Miller and current superstars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love. He'll debut in the NCAA next month, taking a step closer to realizing every young baller's dream: playing in the NBA.


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