The recently concluded FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament held at the fabled Mall of Asia Arena has brought a lot of questions than answers for our own team Gilas Pilipinas. It was the largest by far as for basketball event ever held in the Philippine soil which were attended by current NBA superstars with Tristan Thompson , Tony Parker , Hamadi Ndiaye , Joel Anthony , Cory Joseph , Boris Diaw , Omer Asik and Euroleague MVP Nando De Colo who was also named the tournament MVP. The short but very important competition have the best ingredients for success our fellow countrymen are looking for in a prestigious basketball game where it is treated like religion in terms of popularity of the sports.
Though our bet Gilas Pilipinas were unable to notch a decent win, all loses ended in a single digit deficit against World power France and New Zealand who’ve played better team plays in both ends of the court. The thrill of getting into lead for a certain quarter somehow gave us the notion of getting to almost at their level of competitiveness. Andray Blatche played his best but come up short for a victory as his team mates were overpowered either by height and heft that will make our bunch of coaches to ponder the idea of getting taller and more agile players in the future.
Once more the tourney results and competitive level showed us the virtue of teamwork, the importance of cohesiveness, the beauty of familiarization of each member of a team that makes the execution of every play to run with a gentle and suave approach even in times of great pressures. The speed versus height and the outside shooting against clogged inside lanes balances the competition.
The strict adherence to games schedule made me consider to improve my time management in whatever situation I will be which were boldly felt inside the venue. No fancy or elaboration in the timely chronicles of each nation team movement to and from the Soffitel Hotel to the playing venue MOA Arena with high regard to being on-time attitude. The evident display of seriousness to win the lone pass to the ultimate basketball tournament which is the Olympics are traceable to their faces and body language. Pride, Respect and History are the invisible part of the price at stake making these famous players played their heart out.
We were able to witnessed the different style of ball rotations, mind boggling passes making one player get open shot at the basket in the full view of the spectators drawing awe and screams of surprised crowds of the six nation inside the arena. And we were treated to several razzle dazzle moves by Jason Castro William the Gilas Pilipinas point guard and once again proves to us why he was the Asia’s Best Point Guard speeding fast his defender play every play and provided the needed points in coming up short in both losses.
The FIBA Officials led by President Patrick Bauman expressed his honest opinion of contentment with the way it was handled by our countrymen spearheaded by SBP Manny V. Pangilinan and SM Hans Sy and the PBA Officials . It was indeed world class.
Even after bowing out in two games of the Gilas Pilipinas, Filipino hoop fans with the mix of the visiting teams nationalities the arena were filled to rafters as the tickets sold on line was gone in a couple of hours after it was offered. This only shows the spectrum of basketball polarity with the US and Europe basketball remarkable following. The games popularity were felt by the visiting players as Tony Parker of French Basketball team said in an interview “we were like rockstar” indulging to selfies with his fans before boarding the teams designated bus going back to hotel.
Games souvenir from every sponsors were on display for sale ranging from one of the most expensive timepiece Tissot watch and TP09 official sponsor PEAK rubber shoes. Petron Tri Activ booth offers great prices if you can make 5 free throws in 30 seconds bringing you the pressure of making free throws within the time limit makes you experience how it is with FIBA in the international arena.
We are all witness to the level of game the tournament made of and it is with a positive thought that we must embrace to make it in the Olympic Games the basic and proven approach to the game that no team can win a game without playing solid defense, orchestrated offense and fluidity in motion in running our plays from both ends of the hardcourt within the whole 40 minutes duration. This experience have taught us the virtue of dedication to practice, the commando attitude we need to firmly stay focus throughout the tournament and ultra ordinary experience for the team, the players and the coaching staffs including the media and the die hard fans who will always believe in the talent of our countrymen who’ve made sacrifices to their respective family’s and love ones in serving our flag.
This is just a beginning of the next big thing in the history of the Philippine basketball, a teaser for the 2019 World Cup and eventually by Gods grace and players infinite admiration to serve and share their talent once more to elevate our level in the halls of basketball greatness if not supremacy in the heart of Asia.
Thank you for all the sponsors for treating us to an unforgettable experience we have never imagine could happen in our life, thank you for bringing the best of the basketball world. Smart , Meralco , PLDT , Petron Tri Activ , TPB Philippines , Tissot , Peak , Molten , Japan Airline , Champion, Wanda Group and Nanjing Beer.
Thank you FIBA for reading my blog. Paquito