Fans’ love for Gilas Pilipinas not a one-way street | Inquirer Sports

Fans’ love for Gilas Pilipinas not a one-way street

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 04:15 PM September 24, 2014

Philippines' Japeth Aguilar, left, and teammate Jim Alapag, right, celebrates after winning the match at the end of the match  against Senegal during the Group B Basketball World Cup match between the Philippines and Senegal in Seville, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. The 2014 Basketball World Cup competition will take place in various cities in Spain from Aug. 30 through to Sept. 14. AP

Gilas Pilipinas. AP FILE PHOTO

INCHEON, South Korea — So much has been said about how fans love Gilas Pilipinas, flocking game venues where the Nationals play, flashing DIY posters and screaming their hearts out for the team.

But so little has been written about how the team loves its fans.


On an overcast Wednesday afternoon, Gilas Pilipinas showed just how much it cared for its supporters, taking the cudgels for five fans who had traveled separately from different places all over South Korea just to watch the team practice at Jemulpo High School gym.


The fans were barred from entering the gym for security reasons, with guards saying only people with 2014 Asian Games accreditation cards were allowed inside the gym. Forward Marc Pingris tried to intercede and asked the help of journalists present to convince the guards to let the fans in.

“It’s a shame because they came from faraway places,” the scrappy undersized forward said.

When that failed, forward Ranidel de Ocampo and guard LA Tenorio also tried to convince the guards to let the five fans in.

“We skipped worked and traveled far to watch them practice,” said one of the fans, saying some of them endured a four-hour trip just to make it to the 2 p.m. training schedule of Gilas Pilipinas.

The head of the school’s security office later explained that it was for the team’s sake that the fans were not allowed to enter. National coach Chot Reyes told the officer, “It’s okay for us if you let them in. They can stay in the bleachers if they are not allowed on the court.”

Still, the guards would not relent.


In the end, Pingris asked leaving journalists to tell the fans to wait for them after the practice for an impromptu meet-and-greet.

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TAGS: Asian Games, Basketball, Gilas Pilipinas, Incheon, South Korea, Sports

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