Sports Eye

‘It’s not just the triumph, but the try’

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

THE earlier much-talked withdrawal of our national basketball team to this year’s Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia slated on August 18 – September 2 produced not only ugly reactions but frustration among Filipino basketball buffs. Netizens decried the pronouncement of the national basketball governing body Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) headed by Al Panlilio as unfair for believing that sending our second best will be to naught in the coming quadrennial meet.

it’s unpatriotic. Our basketball crazy country has a lot of players that PBA can lend to replace our ten Gilas dribblers suspended by the world basketball governing body FIBA caused by the brawl in the game vs. the Australian team in the second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifying round on July 2.

SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangalinan (MVP) sided with Panlilio and apologized to the basketball fans about the pull out, admitting that the Philippines cannot assemble a competitive outfit in time. The move prompted basketball fans to say ‘foul’ knowing that this is our sport, and it’s imperative we should go whatever the results would be.

 Obviously MVP and Panlilio thought of the repercussions if we send our second top, surmising that our team won’t even surpass our seventh place finish in Incheon, South Korea four years ago, our worst performance in Asiad despite sending our best professional players. I believe their main mission is to send a medal-finish team to improve our showing and wipe away the stigma we suffered in 2014 Asiad.

Fortunately, SBP backtracked and finally decided to send a national team. Perhaps, this is due to the strong clamor of Filipino basketball community, plus pressures from our (other) national sports leaders like Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas, Philippines Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez, this year’s Asiad chef-de-mission Richard Gomez who firstly opposed the exclusion of our national quintet, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, SBP chairman Sen. Sonny Angara and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, to name some, who all played major roles in reversing the withdrawal. They’re all for the love of the country and the sport. Remember, PH is a member of Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), rated seventh out of 15, and not sending a basketball contingent in Asiad for a flimsy reason would have resulted in PH being suspended in the next Asiad plus hefty fines.

I doff my hat to them for saving the face of Philippines, but not the SBP for its baseless fear of failure pride and false pride.

Good luck to our new Gilas team headed by veteran coaches Yeng Guiao and assistant Caloy Garcia, the 14 dribblers headed by two half-Pangasinenses Gabe Norwood (his mother is from Calasiao) and Maverick Ahanmisi (his mother from Alcala), Chris Tiu, James Yap, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, Stanley Pringle, Paul Lee, Poy Erram, Don Trollano, Christian Standhardinger, Gilas cadet Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero and the aging Asi Taulava.

Although team-jelling time is too short for you guys, remember the sports adage that says, “It’s not just the triumph, but the try.” “It’s not how you won the game, but it’s how you played the game”.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 PETER 3: 12

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