WITH low expectations, Gilas 5.0 stalwart Mac Belo revealed that the team is in high spirits heading to the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup that kicks off on Friday in Tehran, Iran, thanks to some encouraging words from the top basketball officials of the country.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) officials led by Manny V. Pangilinan graced the squad's final tune-up game on Monday and expressed one simple request for the young cagers, according to Belo.
"Sabi lang ng mga bosses namin, ipakita lang namin 'yung larong Pinoy," said Belo after the team's final tuneup game against SCTEX which they won convincingly, 106-83.
"Hindi naman sila nanghihingi ng panalo. Basta maipakita lang namin yung best namin dun," added the former Far Eastern University star.
SBP president Al Panlilio, Ricky Vargas, and national team coach Tab Baldwin were also present to send off the squad that flew to Iran on Tuesday.
Indeed, the Filipino cagers wil have to show much of that resilience when they jumpstart their campaign against India on the opening day.
But even though odds are against them, Belo said they are not backing down from the challenge.
"Pagdating dun, all out na talaga kami. Hindi ko ma-promise yan (kung 100 percent na kami) pero masasabi ko, naghanda naman kami ng sobra," said Belo.