For Gilas, Asian Games gold was the prize–everything else a bonus
There’s no question the players of the national team that won the gold in the Asian Games (Asiad) men’s basketball event will be rewarded for their efforts. But the bonus is just that—a bonus.
Team manager Alfrancis Chua said money was never an issue for members of the Philippine squad who accepted the call to represent the country in the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“Not one player asked how much the allowance is. Nothing. That’s a good thing,” Chua said in Filipino on Monday in a press conference held at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Office in Libis, Quezon City.
Chua lauded those who took part in the historic run to the country’s first gold since 1962 with a roster only formed barely two weeks before heading to China for the continental meet.
Chua said the players were fueled only by a commitment to put Gilas Pilipinas back on the mountaintop, not how much they’ll get for the service they eventually rendered for the flag and country.
“We’re so proud of the players. Even [Justin] Brownlee, even [Ange] Kouame, they didn’t ask for anything. They just want to win,” said Chua. “They didn’t get anything extra just to play for the Asian Games.”
That was in contrast to the demands of a player that PBA chair Ricky Vargas bared.
“I spoke to one player that we wanted to play for the team. He said, ‘Yes, I love the country, I will play for the team.’ And then he says, ‘Talk to my manager.’ And then the manager came back and says, ‘He will play as long as you pay him.’ Then I went to Alfrancis and to Tim,” said Vargas.
Chua said San Miguel Corporation head honcho Ramon S. Ang and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan have committed to reward the team for the historic feat.
“If you’re going to ask if they’ll receive anything? Of course, they’ll do, They won the gold,” said Chua. “Boss RSA (Ang) and Sir MVP (Pangilinan) are going to give something to the players.”