It’s People’s Triumph, after all
It’s official: Our national basketball team to this year’s Asian Games will be known as the Gilas National Team.
This was relayed yesterday by Ed Picson, spokesperson of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Picson also referred to the statement of POC president Ricky Vargas in a previous press conference announcing the decision of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to rejoin the Asian Games basketball tournament.
Picson earlier said there may be no turning back, after a letter of withdrawal had been sent to Indonesia.
In his statement, Vargas said they were left with no choice but bow to the resonating public clamor for the Philippines to send a team to the Asian Games slated in Indonesia Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
A national team has been formed out of the core of the Rain or Shine outfit, which the tried and tested Yeng Guiao had led to two PBA championships before his move to NLEX.
The team, with assorted reinforcements, including the 45-year-old Asi Taulava, Paul Lee and Christian Standhardinger, has started twice-a-day workouts. It was initially bracketed with United Arab Emirates, Iran and Syria.
Guiao, however, broke the news before practice at the Meralco Gym on Monday about a reported change in the bracketing that has put the Philippines in a tougher group that include powerhouses China and Kazakhstan.
SBP president Al Panlilio, among those who worked for the Philippine return to the Asiad, has called for strong support and prayers for the Gilas National Team.
As it would turn out, there was no single factor or figure that caused the happy twist. It was the overwhelming cry of the basketball-loving public.
“This is all about Filipino Pride and nothing unites Filipinos of every social class than what happens on the basketball court,” Special Assistant to the President Bong Go told the AFP.
Go, a three-point shooting medalist, has been singled out as a main force behind the return of the Philippines team to the Asian Games tournament.
He has refused to take credit, but insisted the hastily formed national squad will keep trying to do the best.
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