Take heart, Gilas has refused to sink
Enough harshness has been slammed on the Gilas Pilipinas team, but nothing cuts deeper than the degradation mouthed by the Serbian national coach.
Coach Sasa Dordevic swore the Philippine national basketball team doesn’t have what it takes to compete in an exacting global championship.
“It’s obvious you’re missing quality, two games against Serbia and Italy are the result of that lack of quality,” he said.
Going by the result of those two games, which deteriorated early into harrowing massacres, the unprepared Gilas national team was not unlike a raw, ragtag outfit that was forced to do battle against unforgiving world basketball powers.
Or untested adventurers let loose in a stormy ocean aboard a small flimsy sea craft.
Philippine team coach Yeng Guiao reacted and strongly refused the slur, while stressing that the reason they were in the China World Cup was because Gilas Pilipinas has qualified again.
There indeed was the great gap but Guiao said they were fighting and working hard to lessen it.
The comment of the Serbian mentor could indeed sound quite uncharitable. There’s no doubt Dordevic knew about the Gilas campaign of 2014, where the basketball world had to take a serious view of the fighting national outfit. That team handled by Chot Reyes was rich in energy and spirit, brimming with hot warrior blood—puso.
The Philippine national team left to grope (in the dark) out in China, pardon, is not a distant cousin of the original Gilas team.
Blame it on circumstances, mainly injuries and exit of the tested Gilas warriors.
The game against Angola, lost in overtime, might have appeared entertaining to ordinary fans. It was, in truth, a monumental letdown, except maybe for flashes of brilliance from at least two rookies.
This Gilas team, for one, appeared to have no idea of what man-size defense meant, while its offense was often shallow, predictable and soft.
No quality, indeed, but the Serbian coach could not be blamed.
There must be a total review and revision of the national basketball program.
The system being followed has produced inferior basketball soldiers.
Said retired national basketball star Fritz Gaston: “My take, our basketball is good for the PBA, college and MPBL. Never for international, not in our lifetime, not in MVP’s lifetime. Even if he naturalizes five Blatches, he looked fat with bulging stomach and could barely run.”
Meanwhile, the national team has refused to give up.
It’s been lined up against Tunisia and Iran, still clinging to the faint hope of snatching an outright Olympic berth.
They sure will rise and fall using the old battle cry. Laban Pilipinas—Puso.
Gilas will surely go on playing and fighting hard.
Beaten and battered, it will refuse to sink.
Sorry, but what the Serbian team coach obviously meant was that the mediocre Gilas national team should promptly find ways to stop being an international eyesore.
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