‘Unsung’ stars of Gilas fiveBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TAIPEI—Several players have stepped up for Smart Gilas-Pilipinas at the 34th Jones Cup here.
Marcus Douthit, Gabe Norwood, shooters Jeff Chan and Gary David and LA Tenorio, and the rest of the team for that matter, can be called heroes for bringing Philippine basketball back to the Asian region’s consciousness.
But they couldn’t have functioned the way they did in the games if not for some “unsung” ones, who do the literal dirty work for them.
Rogelio “Bong” Tulabot, a utility man who has been in the PBA since 1988; Dexter Aseron, a physical therapist; and Andrew Teh, the travel agency CEO who has made sure that there is no language barrier for the Filipinos here, all deserve the same praise.
Tulabot does the work of five men combined, almost not getting sleep for 10 days as he takes care of everything that each player needs before going into action.
He rises up early in the morning to get the laundered uniforms and then distribute them to each player in their respective rooms before assisting them at breakfast.
After the daily practice, he collects the dirty practice jerseys, takes them to the laundry before joining the team for lunch.
While the players are getting some rest, Tulabot packs an ice chest full, grabs the players’ towels and hustles to wherever for the players’ rehydrating drinks for the game, getting help from Aseron who performs duties far from his calling.
The team leaves two hours before gametime, and one hour before that, Tulabot tapes all the players’ ankles. Then he drags several heavy loads of apparel, drinks, ice and what-have-you, into the bus.
The 30-minute trip to the venue and back to the hotel is a great time for Tulabot to rest. When the team arrives at the venue, he would massage players before the game.
But Tulabot said he forgets all about the tiring routine every time the Filipinos win.
The upset win over the United States and the Filipinos’ championship victory are the sweet rewards Tulabot, Aseron and Teh share.