Sports Eye

PH five crisis continues

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


AFTER that unforgettable ugly match between our Philippine national team Gilas Pilipinas against the Australian national squad last July 2 at Philippine Arena that turned to be ‘basketbrawl’ prompted the world basketball governing body FIBA to suspend our ten dribblers and five in the Australian side. That was the first crisis. The second was the flip-flopping of our national basketball body Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to send or not to send a delegation in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia on August 18-September 2.

Pressured, SBP eventually sent our second selected Gilas team to avert another suspension with hefty fines from OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) that handles technical problems of Asiad. And the NBA, FIBA and OCA in the end officially gave the green light to Fil-Am cager Jordan Clarkson of Cleveland Cavaliers to play with our new Gilas five elated our SBP officials and gave a sense of hop to to Filipino basketball fans around the world. This is our sport. With the inclusion of Clarkson in the PH squad, the Pampanga-born Clarkson will carry our national flag during the opening ceremony on August 18 replacing 2014 Asiad PH lone gold medalist cyclist Daniel Caluag.

But the crisis did not end there. According to the latest report (as of this writing August 16), Clarkson is taking the Los Angeles flight to Jakarta via Singapore which will take him around 18 hours of flight excluding the layover in Singapore. For sure, Clarkson cannot make it in time for the match against Kazakhstan. Assuming he can, he would not be physically and mentally fit to help Gilas win a jetlag. It could take at least three days for him to recover. (And by the time you read this piece, the initial game of Gilas against Kazakhstan on August 16 is already over).

Philippines-Kazakhstan rivalry started in 1998 Bangkok Asiad when PH was under the tutelage of head coach Tim Cone and won the bronze medal, 73-68. Four years later (2002) at Busan, South Korea with Jong Uichico steering PH, Kazakhstan edged PH, 68-66, snatching the bronze and PH landed fourth. At the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup held in Manila, we saw how PH smothered Kazakhstan, 88-58.

The worst that PH absorbed was in 2014 Incheon Asiad when we finished in an embarrassing seventh place. The best performance for PH in this quadrennial meet was in 1951, 1954, 1958 and 1962 winning the gold. After 1962, we never won another gold. Our second finest was in 1990 Beijing Asiad when we sent our best professional cagers for the first time to win the silver medal after China.

PH, Kazakhstan and China are the only three teams involved in group D which many say a ‘group of death’. Unlike China and South Korea, Kazakhstan is not a powerhouse squad but should not be taken lightly and PH game against Kazakhstan is vital. It is a must-win situation knowing that their second assignment slated on August 21 (with Clarkson this time) will be perennial champion China. Only two teams each group of four enter the second round. Two losses for each group automatically out for the second round. Assuming that PH wins against Kazakhstan and PH losses to China and China beats Kazakhstan, PH enters the quarterfinals. In case of triple tie, the Olympic quotient method will be applied.
Suportahan natin an gating koponan.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: ‘I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’
ISAIAH 45: 7

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