PH national quintet, Asia’s powerhouse no more
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
GONE were the days when our Philippine national basketball team was the dominant and powerhouse in Asia’s caging. Those were the heydays of Robert Jaworski, Alberto Reynoso, William Adornado, Jimmy Mariano, Philip Cezar, Danny Florencio, Rosaleo Martirez, Rogelio Melencio, Freddie Webb, Rudy Distrito, Fortunato Co, Pangasinan sons Orlando Bauzon of Calasiao, Romualdo Cabading of Villasis, Romulo Mamamaril of Malasiqui, to name some.
Our three perennial mortal foes in those two decades for Asia’s supremacy were South Korea, Japan and China. Except the Philippines, no Southeast Asia country emerged as a big threat to Asia’s crown. But when the Soviet Union of Europe was dissolved in 1990s, Asian nations who belonged to the former Soviet Union state like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan surfaced and added as contenders for the Asian tiara. This was the beginning of our Philippine national squad misfortunes. In fact, the lowly-rated Indonesian quintet repulsed us in the 2021 Southeast Asia Games for the gold medal held in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was our very first failed attempt to win the gold since the birth of SEA Games.
And just a week ago, our junior Gilas Pilipinas five can only afford sixth overall in the just concluded Asian U18 Youth Basketball Championship won by South Korea over Japan and China landed third. Then, our senior Gilas Pilipinas nationals bannered by NBA’s the well-known Utah Jazz Fil-Am cager Jordan Clarkson and our youthful homegrown talent seven-foot-three Kai Sotto lost to host team Lebanon, 85-81, in the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifying round held last August 26,. And to think, basketball is not their favorite sport, but football. Yes, it has become evident that our Asian neighbors like Lebanon, are no longer patsy team. Fortunately, in Gilas’ second game played here at Mall of Asia arena last August 29, Gilas drowned Saudi Arabia. 84-46. Yes, despite the losses of our nationals, we should still support them. Remember, they’re carrying our flag.
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PBA’s Philippine Cup defending champion TNT Tropang Giga won its initial match against title-hungry San Miguel Beer (SMB), 86-84, via the buzzer-beating shot of well-known prolific point-guard the veteran, Jayson Castro under the orchestration of TNT’s head coach Chot Reyes in the best-of-seven championship series. SMB countered twice consecutively, 108-100 via overtime (94-94) and 102-93 to seize the lead, 2-1, sans the presence of Reyes who was called twice to steer our Gilas Pilipinas nationals against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia In the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifying round. Coach Reyes came back to TNT’s bench, the fourth and the fifth skirmishes with a resounding 100-87 and 102-93 consecutive victories to grab the front, 3-2, held on August 28 and August 31 at Smart Araneta Coliseum, and just one shy victory away to claim their back-to-back championships on September 2, while SMB will take two consecutive triumphs to snatch the crown.
I’m making this piece afternoon of September 2, and by the time you read this piece, the championship is already over.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? JOHN 14: 5-9
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