Coming Full Circle...
Four Years ago, in 2010, Gilas Pilipinas (Philippines' Mens National Team) was composed of a fresh out of college kids who were chosen because they could dedicate their full time to the training program. Their goal was to qualify for the Olympics. They nearly made it but fell short.
They then joined the PBA, and became an intrinsic part of the their teams... providing immediate Impact.
Fast forward 4 years, the Gilas Pilipinas is now composed of PBA players much older than their predecessors. In the formation process, corporate rivalry became one obvious reason why specific star players "snubbed" the invitation.
Sometimes, even the fans would try to justify their teams' moves... denying the possibility that the teams they are rooting for are not the epitome of goodness they expect it to be. But the players have never said anything.
During the pre-game dance showdown of the Finale of the PBA All Star Weekend, the PBA All Stars showed something so heartwarming that I felt my eyes begin to swell a bit. for in the very beginning of their presentation, they showed the world that despite most of them being invited to join Gilas, and their Managements turning it down, they were ONE with those men who were able to accept what they were forced to reject.
The players on Gilas were brothers that they gone to battles with and against.
During the coverage, former PBA player and TV Commentator Ronnie Magsanoc mentioned that at one point in their careers, every player on the All Star team had played for the national team. They knew the enormity of the sacrifice required during the coming months.
That "Laban Pilipinas" message at the beginning of their routine was a sign that they wanted to help in whatever way they can, to the push the cause that is alot closer to their hearts than any of us fans could ever comprehend. And in that way, they put their own dreams on the shoulders of the "chosen ones" who are their comrades and friends.
in a league where MVP and SMC have multiple teams... where the rivalry is nauseatingly visible.. this move by these players showed that though their organizations were rivals, they were brothers... they were family.
One Dream. One Goal. One Fight.
Laban Pilipinas. Puso.