“We were not DEFEATED by other countries. We were DEFEATED by our own countrymen.”
In a country where people play basketball more than their national sport, it is a dream of every citizen of such country to compete worldwide. For years, this country, the Philippines, strived hard to go its way in order to reach that single dream – to fight and win in the world’s basketball competition – FIBA. A ray of hope came over to such country when it made its way to this year’s FIBA. However, upon ignition of such ray to spark, darkness immediately dimmed over. Philippines was defeated by Croatia, Greece, Argentina and Puerto Rico. After all these, a realization came over to every die hard Filipino basketball fans, is the Philippines really not ready for this big event?
For a woman who grew up with parents who are overly passionate on watching sports on the television, it was not hard for me to develop the same passion with them. I fell in love with basketball the way I did with board games (scrabble and chess), field games (softball and soccer baseball), and court games (volleyball and table tennis). Aside from watching the local PBA and university leagues, I am but a fan of NBA. As an avid fan, it came into me that if only Philippines can come up with a team with a heart and determination to move its way, it won’t be hard to go worldwide; and indeed, such hope came into reality. When my favorite San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine basketball idols were sent to FIBA. To me, it was such a dream come true. Because of their games, I became determined to go home early and be with my family (basketball is the only TV show we don’t fight over with). Not only me did such thing for as I pass by my neighborhood, most people had their eyes on the TV screens and drunkards left their karaoke machines in order to watch the game of our beloved boys. It was as if Manny Pacquaio has a game!
However, as much as we aspire to, our beloved boys failed to win over the teams they compete with and what makes it more disheartening is the fact that most people – Filipinos to be specific – becomes critiques of their own kababayan. There is actually nothing wrong about giving comments about how disappointed or sad they are about the game but ranting over and giving negative comments about Gilas Pilipinas is a different thing. Some even went below the belt and started accusing the coach and the players to be unworthy to become the country’s national team. It is a sad fact that these people (bato-bato sa langit, tamaan wag magalit) who once supported and placed their bet over our beloved boys, sidetracked and go against the country’s pride. Sad. Awfully sad.
But come to think of it, can we totally blame these boys for such failure? Here are some things we can look into:
- The physique of our boys can’t compete with those foreigners. Can you imagine a 5’6 powerforward guarding an almost 7 footer? Hilarious, right?
- We totally need more exposure to foreigners. It is quite visible that our boys are pressured and starstruck(?) upon meeting and competing against those gigantic NBA players.
- Our boys spent a portion of their own money to suffice their needs because our own country does not give ample support to sports. A sad fact we need to accept.
And the list goes on and on and on and on. This might seem like sourgraping but I guess these are just some things that we can look into as we continue to push towards improving our basketball team. Without doubts, I am proud to say that I am proud of my boys. It is never easy to in their place, not to mention the pressure and players that they need to fight with. I am proud of them because basketball-renowned had a hard time defeating us. It is in them that I remembered what our softball coach kept on saying: “If you will not win, at least make it so hard for them to win also. Give them a hard time. Do not make yourself a laughingstock.” And indeed, we did not become one because our boys really gave the competing countries a hard time in winning. They gave their best, therefore we must also give our greatest support to them.
To my beloved boys, I’m proud of you and will remain proud of you for bringing such honor to our country. We may have failed to bag a title, but in the hearts of every Filipino (except for the traitor and biased ones) you are still champions for us. Congrats and Kodus!