No broken hearts out here
For lack of a better term, we all had to call the Philippine national team’s gallant finish against super power China a heartbreaking loss.
The Nationals finished the Asian Games thriller against super power China behind 80-82, but the gutsy Filipino warriors did not look any bit shaken or beaten.
They simply failed to score a win, but at the same time, got wildly celebrated.
“I’m very happy with their efforts,” said national coach Yeng Guiao. “They gave it their all, I could’ve not asked for more.”
The rugged, blazing contest was tighter than the final count indicated.
There were, in fact, pre-game fears the Nationals, hastily formed, could get blown off the court.
Racing back from a 10-point deficit in the first half, the shorter Filipinos played sharp, speedy, gutsy ball, while sacrificing everything in defense to finally take the lead in the closing seconds.
Certified slinger Paul Lee missed an open three-pointer from the far left at the buzzer to the relief of the beleaguered Chinese team.
There was regret, of course, but definitely no miserable scene on the Philippine bench.
On the other hand, there was a grab shot of Chinese basketball association head Yao Ming, visibly shaken, his face a mask of grief.
Just like many others, the Chinese giant who did great in the NBA was obviously at a loss on how the Filipinos could’ve transformed into a world beater overnight.
They definitely overdid themselves.
But a more fitting accolade should be: How did coach Guiao do it?
Guiao singled out the NBA’s Jordan Clarkson, whose mother is from Angeles City, for a superb all-around prowess. But he continued to swoon over the national team’s dedication and solidarity.
It will be a totally different ballgame against Korea on Monday.
Before the China match, Guiao made a fervent vow that they would be ready for everything. He cited the relative slowness of the Chinese big men as their most tangible weakness.
Now, Guiao sees in Korea a speedier and smarter opposing team.
The Nationals, no doubt, were able to play as tall as the Chinese.
He’s not saying it, but coach Yeng should be able to again motivate and weave patriotic magic against Korea on Monday.