Losing to China and the feeling of getting cheated right from the start for the many non-calls on Gilas Pilipinas (and the favorable calls on China by the Fiba referees) in the 2015 Fiba-Asia men’s Finals are things we can say, that are beyond our control.
With China’s 78-67 victory in the Finals on Oct. 3 to reclaim the Fiba Asia men’s basketball throne and more importantly, grab the automatic slot for the 2016 Rio Olympics, it is understandable that Filipinos are now venting their anger at Twitter and Facebook.
Here are just some of my initial post-Fiba Asia men’s Finals thoughts:
- Gilas 3.0 showed resilience, strong bonding and teamwork during its two-month journey to Changsa, China.
- Coach Tab Baldwin and his coaching staff did a great job handling the adversities and helping every Gilas player look past the challenges and instead, focus on the bigger picture.
- Gilas 3.0 may have several ‘senior citizens’ in the team, most notably 42-year-old Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros, who is now 38, but their willingness to make sacrifices and lead by example for sure, have left a lasting mark in the hearts of the younger Gilas players.
- We beat Japan twice in the tournament (including the semis), Lebanon in the quarterfinals, and upstaging mighty Iran (87-73) – victories that show we really are a force to reckon with in Asia again.
Hopefully, from these positives, PBA bigwigs, in particular, top officials from San Miguel Corp. (who we know have some of the PBA’s best talents in their camp) will set aside their personal agenda (if ever there really are) so they can work harmoniously with their corporate rivals from the MVP Group (Talk ‘N Text, Meralco and NLEX) and help map out the short-term, medium-term and long-term game plan with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
(Thankfully, SMC has lent Marc Pingris at the last minute, just a few days before Gilas was to leave for the William Jones Cup)
Alaska, Rain or Shine and Barako Bull have done their fair share already by lending their player(s), while the Aces also lend their head coach in Alex Compton.
I do understand that the Fiba calendar will make a radical change in the years to come.
However, with the gains Philippine basketball has had over the last four years, I believe it is but right for all the basketball stakeholders to keep pressing on, working together in order to see the national team become a regular fixture again in the Olympics and the world championships – something we normally see from the pre-war era through the 1970s.