More than a W in Filipinos’ date with Senegal
SEVILLE, Spain—Gilas Pilipinas’ clash with Senegal—its final game in the Fiba World Cup—now carries a lot more significance than the W that would reflect in the final standings.
Senegalese cage officials showed their ugly side to Philippine basketball patron Manny V. Pangilinan and his entourage on Sunday night (Monday in Manila) when they told the business tycoon to “go home.”
Al Panlilio, the vice president of Meralco and president of the MVP Sports Foundation, was in the group that walked with Pangilinan in the lazy streets of this Andalucia capital and all were surprised at how they were treated without provocation.
“Pilipinas? Are you Pilipinas?” Panlilio quoted the Senegalese official as asking.
And when the group said yes, the men, who were wearing the Senegal colors and accreditation IDs, suddenly told Pangilinan and his group to “go home, Pilipinas.”
Team Philippines’ chances of marching into the KO stages of this 24-nation gathering actually hinges a lot on how the Senegalese will fare in their last two games, which could make their 2 p.m. clash on Thursday (8 p.m. in Manila) academic.
Even if Gilas won against Puerto Rico, it would not guarantee the Filipinos of marching on.
Senegal was to take the Centro Deportivo San Pablo floor next against Philippine conqueror Argentina and an upset there would shut the door on the Filipinos.
But after what happened on the streets on Sunday, the game against the Senegalese is suddenly carrying on more weight.
Also in the group were PLDT executives Poly Nazareno and Oscar Reyes, the former Shell president who had one thing to say to the Senegalese: “We’ll go home after we beat you.”
Senegal is boosted by several towering, agile players, including Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng had 27 points and eight rebounds in Senegal’s 77-75 upset of Croatia.