GILAS Pilipinas' tall players are not above a little superstition afterall.
Since winning their first game in the Fiba Asia Championship against Hong Kong last September 24, Gilas players have complemented their hardwork in practice with a pamahiin for some good luck.
Inside their official bus, Gilas players stick to the same seating arrangement they took before facing Hong Kong, in the belief that it these are their respective lucky seats.
“Since we won over Hong Kong, we never shuffle our seats. We stay in the same spots, I have mine, Ranidel (De Ocampo) has his, everyone knows where they should sit since,” said Gilas veteran center Asi Taulava.
“Since we started this winning streak, guys sit on the same seat. We don’t mix it up. We make it a point to sit on the same seat. You’ll get in trouble if you’ll take another one's seat,” said the NLEX Road Warriors superstar.
Taulava, who always sits at the far end of the bus right next to Calvin Abueva, even shared how they would normally shoo away somebody who will mess up the seating arrangement.
“We’d be frank. Example, there’s a guy who’ll hitch in our bus and he unknowingly sits on somebody’s ‘lucky seat,' he’d be asked to take the other vacant spots,” he said, revealing that even coach Tab Baldwin has his own designated seat.
“We don’t know if it helps, but here we are now, back on top of our group. We even had a good seeding going into the playoffs, so there’s no harm if we rely on superstitions some time,” he added laughing.
And since losing a 73-75 shocker to Palestine in their opener, Taulava bared how the team has learned their lesson the hard way.
“We’ve been told not to underestimate our opponents, but we were stunned by Palestine, and that truly hurt our ego,” he said. “But I’d like to see positives from it, I think it somehow lit the fire in us and made us more careful this time.”
“I admit we were kinda like already preparing for Iran when we faced them (Palestine). And that was bad, now coach Tab wants us to take the tournament one game at a time. Our focus yesterday was to beat India and now we focus on Lebanon.”
The 2003 PBA MVP believes that heading into the quarterfinals, it is imperative that each player realizes the value of every game.
“We are already at the juncture where one miss we die, one loss and our Olympic dream's gone. So we need to stay focused and that’s what coach Tab has been stressing to us,” he said.
And though they are not allowed to interact with fans on social media, Taulava bared how loud they can hear the cheers and the well-wishes of the more than 100 million Filipinos worldwide.
“We feel their love and we see how their prayers work wonders. We’ve been enveloped by the power of their prayers and we hope they continue supporting our team," he said. "One thing I can assure them, we’re all business here.”