Genato still rues lost chance in ’54
Sixty-six years after, Tony Genato is still being feted for skippering the Philippine Five that finished third in the World Basketball Championship in Brazil.
Also 66 years after, Genato still feels that he and his team could have finished better.
Now 91 years young and the only known living member of that star-studded 1954 team, Genato said that they got a bum call late in their game against Brazil, a call made by a Paraguayan official.
“You must take into account that we were playing in South America,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned, every team was afraid of the Philippines. They saw our potential [because] we knew what basketball was all about. [Even] the US was afraid of the Philippines.”
Genato was honored in a virtual jersey-raising ceremony at Bahay Alamat on Sunday night and got to talk about that team, which also had the legendary Caloy “The Big Difference” Loyzaga and achieved what no other country in Asia was able to do on the global cage stage.
The Philippines beat all but two nations in the eight-team final round, with the Filipinos’ other loss coming at the hands of the eventual champion Americans.