Gilas Pilipinas Basketball Team Captain Jimmy Alapag lifts the 1st runner-up trophy.
They have achieved what they many have said the impossible. well even before the game against South Korea, or even after the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, there are a number of people who doubted Team Gilas Pilipinas. Even to the point of asking why they have to be bankrolled by someone (that someone happens to be Manny V. Pangilinan who owns 2 PBA teams the Meralco Bolts and the mighty Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters) who has to put his own product in front of our National Team’s jerseys (our team was known as Smart Gilas Pilipinas back in the day). People then asked why do some teams need to loan players against a rival organization (San Miguel Corporation are rivals in the corporate world and in the PBA, San Miguel Corp owns 3 PBA teams in the PBA namely the Petron Blaze Boosters, the San Mig Coffee Mixers, and the Brgy. Ginebra Kings)? Fans from the SMC side (well fickle minded fans) are insisting that they will never ever lend players not even for a Patriotic reasons, because it’s stupid, and some of those fans then preached that we won’t be able to finish in the top 3. I can still remember their arguments and how I insisted that it is possible, that we just need to believe and pray and our boys play hard.
the Silver Medal finish is the highest finish by the Philippines since the 1985 “Philippine” team lead by Ron Jacobs’ NCC Philippines
With the conquest over South Korea (as mentioned in my other piece), we automatically booked ourselves a ticket to the 2014 FIBA World Championship, though we came up short against the Persians (Iran) in the Gold Medal match, the proud Philippine team gladly accepted their Silver Medal to the delight of the Filipinos all around the world. The Silver Medal not only signifies years and years of frustrations in the Asian Games and the FIBA tournaments in the past, but it also signifies redemption. Redemption that one day we can be considered the Best in Asia once again and maybe tomorrow, we will be the ones accepting those gold medals. Who knows? I believed that a top 3 finish is possible, everybody should.
With that I wish the success of the Philippine Men’s Basketball team can rub off to other athletes like our Philippine Azkals, the Philippine Volcanoes, the Cobra Energy Dragon Boat Team, our boxers such as Marc Barriga, and a lot of us. I wish us all the best in the future. LABAN PILIPINAS
Marc Pingris celebrates as the buzzer sounded
All the years of heartache, the frustration, the dismay and distraught came to an end at least for now, as Team Gilas Pilipinas pulled off a 86-79 victory over our arch nemesis South Korea in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA Asia Championship last August 10, 2013. Marc Pingris led the inspirational push for our very own cagers even with Marcus Douthit riding the bench because of a calf injury. Also leading the way is Ranidel De Ocampo as provided a much needed scoring down the stretch and Jimmy Alapag with his dagger 3s in the dying moments of the 4th Quarter. Jason Castro provided devastation in the 3rd Quarter as well.
The victory propelled Gilas Pilipinas to a gold medal match against Iran later and the victory ended the South Korean nightmare that our basketball program had to carry for years. The South Koreans are our number 1 tormentors in Asia, we lost to them in ABC Tournaments and Asian Games. Most memorable loses came from the 1986 Asian Games, 1998 Asian Games, 2002 Asian Games and the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship. What hurt most for me though is in 2002 where in we were up by 2 only to be foiled by a buzzer beating 3pt heave by Lin Sang Min that propelled the Koreans to the Gold Medal match against Yao Ming’s Chinese Basketball Team. That loss burdened a lot of us and the players especially Olsen Racela who missed 2 FTs with 23 ticks left in the clock with team Philippines leading 68-66 at that time. The Koreans escaped with a 69-68 win. Finally we can erase that bitter memory from our minds, we will proud of the fact that we have finally exorcised our demons at least for the moment (and hopefully this can start our master over our Korean neighbors at least in Basketball). Finally after God knows how many years we have finally beaten the South Koreans, despite the doubters and haters mocking the program. Despite people belittling Manny Pangilinan’s desire to put our country back in the World stage, despite people mocking Gary David and Noli Eala and the San Miguel Corporation people not lending it’s players to the national team (well they did lend Tenorio and Pingris) they finally won, not only for those who believed but also for the haters!
Memebers of Gilas: Marcus Douthit and Gary David (on the background), Larry Fonacier, RDO and June Mar Fajardo celebrates as The Philippines exorcised the South Korean curse 86-79