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Gilas battles PBA All-Stars to draw
InterAKTV · Sunday, May 5, 2013 · 8:46 pm
Rain or Shine forward Jeff Chan nailed a three-pointer with six-tenths of a second remaining as the Philippine national men’s basketball team battled a crack selection of PBA stars to a 124-all tie in the league’s annual All-Star game Sunday in Digos City.
The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas squad battled back from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to force the tie in what was the first public appearance of the latest incarnation of the national team.
The Philippines is became known for boxing because of our fighters making it to the international stage... but then, only a handfull of people in the nation actually box.
If the Philippines finally gets to FIBA World Cup... we become known for BASKETBALL, then that would finally achieve what Rafe Bartholomew has been trying to do... to show the WORLD that the Philippines's "unlikely affair with basketball" has actually turned out to be a "Match Made in Heaven".
Yesterday, the pool of 17 that will be taking on that extra burden of carrying the nation.
The next 6 months are critical. In the next 3 months, while the Commissioner's Cup is going on, this group will only be meeting once a week. Its a good thing that they have 15 guys who are familiar with of Coach Chot's system, (7 of which play it all year round). Only 2 need to learn it, within the next 3 months, before they go to training camp in Lithuania.
In Lithuania, they are isolated... they are focused... it's their training camp. After this, they go on and spar.
Then they come back and play in the PBA All Star Weekend... going against team who we could almost be sure, would feature other more popular PBA stars. They also play Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks. They would also invite teams from other middle eastern countries...And finally, they defend the Jones Cup title... before coming back home for the ULTIMATE BATTLE here on our own turf. As it gets closer, I'm sure the pressure will mount... but unlike preparing for a Championship in the PBA... a loss here will be heartbreaking, not just for them... but for the whole nation. Because this is the LAST CHANCE... to finally break out of Asia, and into the World Stage.
The hardest part of the climb is the push to the summit... where you have to find that extra ounce of energy and drive to overcome all obstacles and get to the top. You are at that part. And when the Final Battle comes... you'll be playing in at atmosphere unlike never before. This time, the WHOLE CROWD will be cheering for you... and unlike a Ginebra vs BMEG in the PBA or an ADMU vs DLSU in the UAAP where half is for, and half is against... this time... EVERYONE - the bands, the streamers, the tshirts, the screams... will all be for you.
We're in this together... We're supporting all the way... Go Gilas! Go Pilipinas!
It's no longer PARA SA BAYAN... it should be LABAN NG BAYAN... #PUSO
" Basketball. In the Philippines, I found a nation of people who love hoops as passionately as I do. At first, it was hard to believe. How did a tall man's game become a cultural force of nature in a Southeast Asian country full of fairly short people? But Filipinos have a basketball history that stretches back to the early 1900s, and over the past century the sport has become ingrained in nearly every aspect of Philippine society. On the sides of jeepneys, in every town square, on billboards and commercials for a dizzying range of products that includes sneakers, vitamin syrup, tires and margarine, you see basketball. Almost everywhere in the Philippines, you see basketball." - Rafe Bartholomew, author Pacific Rims.
For the love of basketball, for national pride, and for faith in the Filipino people's ability to compete at the highest level, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) under Manny Pangilinan (your rival) has basically thrown in everything (the financial support, the FIBA Asian Championship hosting rights, sacrificed the "Smart" in the team's name, and ALOT MORE) to give our team a fighting CHANCE.
But to be able to form the BEST TEAM that will give us the BEST CHANCE, the COUNTRY needs YOUR players. If these players (Mark Pingris, James Yap, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Junmar Fajardo, LA Tenorio and others) are RELEASED to PRACTICE and join PRELIMINARY TOURNAMENTS with Gilas Pilipinas AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, if you allow them to focus all their energies into preparing for one of the TOUGHEST BATTLE they will ever have to face because it demands not only their TIME and EFFORT, but their HEART and SOULS... you will have done your part in giving back to the nation and the people who has LOYALLY SUPPORTED your organization for all these YEARS.
Come August 1-11, 2013 (6 months away), when the FIBA Asia Championships starts here in Manila, we come out with a team that WE ARE PROUD OF... a team with CHEMISTRY... a team that plays with HEART... a team that will give HOLD NOTHING BACK just to give the PHILIPPINES a chance to fight for its place in the WORLD of BASKETBALL.
Because, at the end of the day, through VICTORY or DEFEAT, as a NATION, we can be PROUD because we GAVE EVERYTHING, we HELD NOTHING BACK, that we OVERCAME all our DIFFERENCES and put the FLAG and the PHILIPPINES first.
“I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for?... I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for because he is the nation’s greatest untapped resource." (Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., speech delivered before the Asia Society on August 4, 1980 in New York City).
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From a failed grandslam in 2011... to a no-rest off-season for the starters with Smart Gilas... to a gunshot wound to Ali... to a season long INJURY PRONE line-up that caused them the Commissioner's and Governor's Cup... to feel disappointment to have Coach Chot's era end in an elimination in the semis.
Finally... with only Ranidel and Larry with no off-season in 2012, they were able to get back to health. And with all the chaos that SMC has caused the National Team, with them promising to allow their players to play for the national team so that they could get most of the Gilas 1 players (via draft of trade) ... Talk n Text, which is an extension of MVP himself, has shown all of us that...
It's not about talent (because the SMC teams have tried to hoard their own, but can't make it work)... its not about financial resources... heck, its not even about having a volatile fan base... its about the same thing that Coach Chot brought to the no-MVP National Team that surprisingly won the Jones Cup ...
HEART... PUSO... the willingness to put the TEAM / NATION first...before personal glory.
I actually have NO DOUBT that if MVP and Coach Chot asked their core players (Jared, Jimmy, Ranidel, Kelly, Larry, and Ryan) to sacrifice the next 2 conference to prepare for the FIBA Asian Championships, they would. And that just shows what kind of CHARACTER that runs behind this organization.
Kudos for making HIS3 guys... It almost felt like FATE was making a statement ... especially in those last 7 minutes...
But somehow, I don't think your work is done... It seems as if this whole process has been preparing you for the toughest fight ahead... this time... your core, together with your coach, will be carrying the weight of the whole nation.
And I sincerely hope that in this year 2013... it will not only mean HIS3 for Talk n Text, but we will also witness HISTORY being made for GILAS PILIPINAS this August at the FIBA Asian Championships.
After the devastating effects of Pablo on Mindanao... we thought the bad news was over... but ... then we had this weekend...
I remember Coach Chot mentioned after the FIBA Asia Cup in Japan... he said that it is a different feeling/pressure altogether when the name printed on your chests is the country that you represent. Just like the victory is much sweeter... the weight of defeat would seem more crushing.
The last time I watched them play was in the Final Game vs Taipei during the peace cup a couple of months back, and it was not as electric as last night, especially when it came to the number of fans on the stands on the cheers. But when the final whistle was blown, and the score was still 0-0, ofcourse everyone felt disappointed.
But when I saw the Azkals take customary post-game walk around the stadium after the match, though we (the crowd) was somehow disappointed that it was a draw, we couldn't help but cheer in encouragement because you could really feel the disappointment radiating from them. Either it was because they couldn't score a goal in the match, or because they wanted to dedicate the game win the victims of Typhoon Pablo, the frustration was evident.
I may have gone to see us make history... but seeing your faces as you walked around the stadium... faces that felt so dejected because you couldn't get a W infront of the thousands who came to Rizal Memorial Stadium to cheer you... so we cheer for you... you who sacrifice so much, just like your parents who connects you to us... you sacrifice so much for the Filipino people... and we thank you...
after a couple of hours....
I, unlike everyone else who was watching via PPV in bars, restaurants, and in other homes... I was just watching twitter during the fateful minutes that the world watched the PacquiaoMarquez4 Match. I was feeding off the emotions off the people around the world...
when Manny got KO in the 3rd round... and then when Marquez got caught in the 5th... and finally that punch in the 6th when it all ended...
the shock... the tears... the surge of emotion... the expression of disbelief... and finally the feeling of resolve and saying... we still love you Manny... we stood with you in triumph... we will stand with you in defeat...
#FilipinoPride (top trending tweet worldwide)
In defeat, in emotional moments... we comfort each other... and we say that we still support them no matter what...
As a nation, somehow we're used to getting the short end of the stick... we're used to losing... to being the ones to suffer... we've experienced it so much that we know how to cope...
So that when it comes to our athletes... its ok for them to loose... as long as we see that they put your whole heart into the fight, holding nothing back...
- for the Azkals.... just like your parent/s, we know that you will not only fight back, but you will succeed when you go battle in Singapore. Because somehow... when you are considerered the "underdogs" , that is when the HEART comes out and gives you the extra push to win it all.
- for Manny.. even in defeat you demonstrate the class of true sportmanship... and that's the what gives us, the GLOBAL PINOY COMMUNITY, Pride in the midst of defeat...
Azkals... as you go to SIngapore... take this memory with you... the Filipino Nation may be harsh at times, but even if you do not win... just knowing that you leave it all on the court is enough for us....
CONGRESSMAN MANNY PACQUIAO... THANK YOU. Whatever you decide after this, we're standing behind you. You've taken us on your shoulders in the last decade and made the Philippines known to the world... our nation is in a much better place because of you.
“This might be the weakest Philippine team, the least prepared, and the smallest. But what it’s got is a big heart. Heart won it for us versus Japan, Korea, Iran, and the US. These guys just don’t know the meaning of quit.”
– Coach Chot Reyes, after beating the US, and winning the 34th William Jones Cup .
HEART. This word repeated over and over again throughout the weak as the Smart Gilas 2.0 faced their very tournament together as a team at the 34th William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan.
The hash tag #Puso was often seen on the post-game tweets of LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, Coach Chot Reyes, and the rest of the team as they battled through 8 different teams within a span of 9 days. And I believe, this HEART a.k.a. PUSO shall continue to be the driving force behind the campaign of Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0. to get to the FIBA World Cup 2014.
This Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 squad, on paper, is not comprised with the cream of the crop of the Philippine Basketball Association but what they lacked in skill they more than made up for it the commitment, dedication, hardwork , and yes, HEART. We saw a team that came together for regular practices a mere 2 weeks before the tournament. A team, who had no aspirations of winning the tournament, whose main objective was to build the chemistry and camaraderie among themselves (players and coaches) both on and off the court, and was somehow able to over-achieve to extreme.
A team whose last 5 of 7 wins came down the wire, whose victories was owed to the heroic exploits of its players whose composure and shooting accuracy seemed to increase when the final moments of the game arrives. A team whose players were willing to fights tooth and nail to bring glory to the nation whose name is printed on their chests...
Next month, another tournament awaits and this time, the opponents will be eagerly waiting to challenge the team again. They have seen who the players are and have scouted what they can do, and they are more than eager to get that loss that they suffered.
We do not know what Coach Chot Reyes and the rest of the coaching staff will decide with regards to the current team roster. We do not know what adjustments they will make and whether other players will be included (and excluded) from the line-up, and a semi-new team will evolve. But regardless of the changing of total skills set of the players, one thing we can be assured of… that the aura that was carried by this last team will also be carried by the semi-new one. They will also NOT “know the meaning of quit”. They will also have the big HEART that will allow them to fight until they have nothing left… because that is the essence behind what makes our brand of basketball a passionate sport… it is not the sport of basketball per se’, but the HEART of the Filipino that beats within each player.
That HEART which enables the nation to help each other through earthquakes and typhoons and enables a communities to rebuild after the destruction of landslides and flash floods; it is that HEART which enables families to survive despite loved ones working abroad, that will endure all hardships for the hope of a brighter tomorrow;
it is that HEART that will fight oppression and discrimination to achieve independence and parity;it is that HEART that knows there is a God that loves them, and that knowledge brings peace and assurance to a nation and people who are struggling to fight its way back to its former glory and splendor.
And it is that same HEART that transformed the “weakest … the least prepared, and the smallest” Philippine team into the 34th William Jones Cup Champions.
And though their quest is far from over, it is our HEART which enables us to BELIEVE that ANYTHING is POSSIBLE, that our goal is within reach, that finally, after decades of being stalled, we are now picking up speed towards that ultimate goal… the FIBA World Cup 2014!