Barrios: China Fiba Asia hosting pales in comparison with Manila in 2013
Aside from grueling competition in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship final, Gilas Pilipinas had to endure a whole lot of other things not related to the game in China.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios, fresh off the trip with Gilas Pilipinas, shared some of the experiences of the national team in Changsa, China where the Filipinos stayed for almost two weeks.
From the dangerous ride back to the team hotel after the semifinals victory against Japan where the bus counter-flowed in the opposite lane; the uncharged bus manned by a suspicious driver on the day of the championship; the lack of tickets for Philippine delegation for the final, forcing them to buy from scalpers; and the suspicious changing of the net during the Gilas’ shootaround.
Gilas had to fight through all of those distractions before ultimately bowing to powerhouse China, buoyed by a boisterous crowd, in the finale.
Barrios said he raised those issues to the higher ups, penning two letters to Fiba regional director for Asia Hagop Khajirian.
Unfortunately, no action has been made with Fiba Asia saying those problems lie under the jurisdiction of the local organizing committee (LOC).
The Changsha experience was a stark contrast to the Philippine hosting back in 2013, where Barrios said the Manila LOC effectively exhibited what Fiba called the “spirit of neutrality.”
Comparing the two tournaments, Barrios said China did not follow the prescribed “team hotel” as the Chinese squad stayed in the best hotel in Changsha, away from its opponents who all stayed under one roof.
The Manila event had all of the competing teams stay in Dusit Hotel for the duration of the competition.
Security was also a problem as only one security detail has been designated to escort both teams. Barrios took example of the Palestine game, where Gilas had to wait for their opponents to get ready in the hotel before leaving for the venue.
Meanwhile, every team bus had their own security detail escorting them from and to the venue back in 2013.
The difference between the two events was so evident that Barrios is proud of Fiba acknowledging the great work done in 2013, lauding the Manila event and even using it as an example in one of the two Fiba-organized workshops in Changsha.
But more than anything, Barrios is just happy that the Gilas Pilipinas squad fought through adversity and found a way to rise to the occasion.
“I saw the hardwork that they gave and the sincerity they did for our flag and country,” he said. “Hangang hanga talaga ako sa kanila. (I’m really in awe for all of them.)”