I write this after reading the response of Marc Pingris and Ranidel de Ocampo gave in defense of Coach Chot Reyes to his bashers, which resulted from fateful losses during the Asian Games against Iran, Qatar, and Korea. I write this because, just like the rest of the Filipino nation, I couldn’t keep quiet anymore.
When Nikko Ramos wrote those articles a few weeks ago, I found myself crying as I was reading them. In trying to console himself, he ended consoling the rest of the nation after those losses during the FIBA World Cup. Using the Filipino language, he sketched a picture so real that he convinced most of us that that one win against Senegal was enough.
But that is not the case anymore, is it? Unlike the FIBA World Cup where we were against the giants, we were now back in our home territory, against opponents that we’ve beaten before. And we KNEW that it was possible… and that’s what hurts. Whenever we watched Gilas Pilipinas play, our dream of winning the Asian Games always came within grasp, only to be cruelly taken away with each loss. Most of us were just watching on TV, helpless to do anything about it.
It’s the people closest to you that hurt you the most. It’s the ones who’ve been granted access into our heart that has the power to rip it apart. We love this team. We’ve taken them into our hearts just like they’ve taken us into their hearts. But despite what we may think and feel at this time, Coach Chot and the team did not ever intend to break our hearts. But in this bashing, WE are intentionally breaking theirs.
And though the Filipino heart gained the respect and admiration of the basketball community during the FIBA World Cup, and we were even awarded as being the best fans in the world by FIBA, it is through this experience that Coach Chot, the players of Gilas Pilipinas and their families are showing the world just how resilient, compassionate, and forgiving the Filipino heart is. They may be bashed by their own people, but they would still give their all, to play for that name which is written in the front of their jerseys.
Thank you Coach Chot, Cap Jimmy, Kuya Marcus, Gary, Ping, Ranidel, Jeff, Gabe, LA, Jared, Paul, Junmar, and Japhet. Thank you boss MVP, Coach Norman, Coach Tab, Coach Jong, and Boss Aboy (and the rest the team). I may not be able to do much, but I’d like to say this prayer for you all.
I pray that You be with you Coach Chot, Cap Jimmy, Kuya Marcus, Sir Gary, Ping, Ranidel, Jeff, Gabe, LA, Jared, Paul, Junmar, and Japhet and their families as they go through this difficult time where it seems that the very nation that they have sacrificed so much for, is the one driving the nails into their hearts with the criticisms and ridicules. Please grant them strength and comfort, bring them peace in the knowledge that You yourself was ridiculed by Your own people when You were here in on earth, yet You still chose to sacrifice yourself for them (and us). And in the end, give them the assurance that everything they have done for the Filipino nation is not in vane.
Bless them, Lord. Mend their hearts that were broken by the cruel and hurtful words that being thrown at them. Heal their tired and battered bodies so that they may come back healthy and whole and play in the PBA again.
And please, Lord, if it is possible, help us also to realize that our words on social media are actually more powerful and far-reaching than in real life. We should be more careful with the words that we speak, for we can never retrieve them once they have been spoken/posted.
Please help us appreciate the fact that Gilas Pilipinas has shown that for Filipinos, basketball is more than just a sport to rejoice or fume over. To us, it is a powerful catalyst that could be and has been used in unifying this fragmented society. Please help us to fight the norm of tearing each other down and use it instead to build each other up.
Thank You for the assurance that You would forgive us and love us no matter what.
All these things I ask, in the loving of Your Son and our Savior Jesus Christ, I pray,