Duterte attends Gilas-France game, makes ceremonial toss
President Rodrigo Duterte was part of the sellout crowd at Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday night when the Philippine men’s national basketball team faced France at the start of the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament.
Duterte, who was in a brown polo and jeans, braved the bad weather and showed his full support to Gilas Pilipinas, arriving at the venue in Pasay City after making a speech at the Philippine Air Force in Clark, Pampanga.
Duterte not only graced one of the world’s biggest international sporting events, he also did the ceremonial toss before the game, drawing loud cheers from 20,000-plus people.
Three years ago, former president Benigno Aquino III was in attendance when the Philippine team settled for the silver medal against Iran in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship also held at MOA Arena.
Gilas Pilipinas is attempting to make history in eyeing the lone ticket to the Rio Olympics. The country’s basketball team last made an appearance in the Summer Games in 1972 in Munich.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.