Let’s not overanalyze
SOMEONE once told me there are three things that most Filipinos think they can do better than those who actually do it: Run a government, direct a movie and coach a basketball team. This, no doubt, echoes our passion for anything “P.B.A” or Politics, Basketball and Artistas (Actors and Showbiz).
That’s why you now hear the pundits yelling loud during the height of the collegiate hoop season and while Gilas Pilipinas is preparing for the Fiba World Cup a few days from now.
The kibitzing is quite all right in the college game where passions run high because of personal biases for a school. As always, the most fascinating comment has been on officiating with fans even analyzing with video clips of allegedly bungled calls. Social media with all its Web 2.0 capabilities has allowed videos to be grabbed or reproduced to substantiate claims of officiating misses.
Oh, but players get it too on social media. Supposed misbehaviors like unspotted punches or shoves get passed around on Facebook. Players loafing around, especially the defensive slackers, also get it a lot in social commentary.
This is all part of being a basketball country. Football or cricket nations go bananas over their chosen sports, saluting the great ones and lambasting the failures of players and officials equally. Here in the Philippines, it’s basketball we discuss and argue about in offices, taxis, and in crowded public places.
The Gilas participation in the World Cup will not elude the basketball-loving Filipino. After 38 years, the Philippines is back on the world stage since hosting the games at Araneta Coliseum in 1978. The team is also back 60 years after it gloriously finished third in the competition in 1954, still the best finish of any Asian country.
The present competition will be stiff as equally basketball-passionate countries like Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Puerto Rico and Senegal will not make it easy for the team to cross into the Round of 16. Chot Reyes’ team will need their A-game in every match to force the bigger teams to miss, fumble or lose out to Filipino hustle.
The team will also have to create the openings with their dribble-drive offense and score on those opportunities. Unlike in football where a 1-0 score is possible to overcome, a humongous lead of 20 erected by taller and heftier teams will not be that easy to overcome. Great starts will be the marching order for Gilas.
But, that’s enough analyzing. We enjoy playing and talking hoops but let’s try to savor this return to world basketball as well.
There’s no doubt that Gilas will make the country proud with its fighting hearts against truly experienced international campaigners. Just seeing the Philippines play against countries beyond Asia again is a thrill. Gilas’ 74-65 win against Egypt was on TV recently and the triumph was carved in front of joyful Filipino fans.
Where ever a Philippine team plays in the world, there’s most likely going to be legions of Pinoys coming out to root for their players. That should be our spirit as well.
Talk, comment, criticize, salute or applaud all you like during Gilas’ campaign. But don’t forget that win or lose, it’s our team.
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