BELIEVE it or not, Gilas Pilipinas, for so long the undisputed king of basketball in Southeast Asia and perennial contender in Asia, has been dethroned.
Unfathomable but this is the new reality in the world we live in after Indonesia's shock 85-81 win in the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Sunday. Not a few believe this is rock bottom for the Philippine men's national basketball team.
It's an outcome that shouldn't have happened. Yet as unimagineable as it was, the Philippines is coming home with a silver from the biennial Games for the first time in 33 years.
Call it a reality check all you want, but setbacks like these require accountability from those in power.
And it's not like it's our first time. The Philippines has had a handful of these so-called reality checks in the past that one can't help but wonder if we really learned anything from the past?
It's a question that we hope to be answered in the coming days, but for now we ask, how does it fare among the worst losses in Gilas' history?
Let's take a look.
Gilas loss to Indonesia - 31st Southeast Asian Games
This one really stings.
Against an Indonesia team driven to show that it has closed the gap against the region's standard bearer, an all-pro Philippine side played flat althroughout that not even a spirited rally from the likes of Matthew Wright, June Mar Fajardo, and Thirdy Ravena could save it.
It's the perfect storm of sorts, with Timnas shooting the lights out as naturalized player Marques Bolden, prodigy Derrick Michael Xzavierro, and staples Brandon Jawato and Abraham Damar Grahita playing the game of their lives.
Coach Chot Reyes took full responsibility for the letdown but the damage has been done as this one game exposed more of the problems that has plagued Philippine basketball over the years than the strides that Indonesia and the other Southeast Asian countries have mae to close the gap on Gilas.
Philippine team vs Paranaque Jets - 2005 National Basketball Conference North Finals
It was not condemned to the 'worst national team' label for nothing.
Struggling to get commitments from players as well as absorbing injuries to some of its top guns, the Boycie Zamar-coached Philippine team which was preparing for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games fell to the Paranaque Jets peppered with celebrities like Antonio Aquitana, 63-56.
Nino Canaleta and Christian Luanzon were among those unfortunate ones who were caught in the middle of the crossfire as swift changes were soon made to basketball leadership in the country and the national team.
The loss only escalated the pressure on the then-Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and led to a Fiba suspension before the birth of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
This one's just hard to swallow.
Playing behind enemy lines with all factors seemingly favoring the hosts, the RP Team handled by coach Derick Pumaren absorbed a tough 107-99 loss to a Malaysian side led by Tan Kim Chee and Yap Swee Sim much to the delight of home fans in Kuala Lumpur.
Gilbert Reyes did his best to will the Philippines in that game, but falling behind by 23 points early was just a too high a hurdle to overcome for the Filipinos.
"Wala tayong magagawa, pito ang kalaban," said then-BAP president Lito Puyat after the game.
The RP Five, which also had Vergel Meneses, Jun Limpot, Gerry Esplana, and Gido Babilonia, finished the biennial tournament with a 4-1 record to settle for the silver medal after the single-round robin format.
Gilas vs Australia - 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers
The infamous brawl.
Need we say more?
Gilas vs Serbia - 2019 Fiba World Cup
That was how big fancied Serbia won against the Philippines as the team featuring Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Boban Marjanovic delivered an absolute clinic in Foshan with a 126-67 decimation in the biggest stage in international basketball.
It was the lowest of low for that Yeng Guiao-coached World Cup team which was already coming off a 108-62 blowout loss to Italy two days earlier - a campaign that descended to a winless 0-5 record in China.
This one's just plain painful.
Topping the group stages including a big victory against China, Gilas Pilipinas earned a bye in the quarterfinals -- just to get waylaid by Korea by 32 points, 118-86, in Lebanon.
Reyes, leaning on the likes of Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, and Japeth Aguilar, could not find a tonic to stop the hot hands of the opposition as Korea torched Gilas with its seamless ball movement and blazing outside shooting.
Calling it Korea outcoaching the Philippines is a massive understatement that should have forced a massive re-assessment on how we approach the game years back.
Talk about a complete chokejob.
Gilas had its best shot against an undermanned Iran team that didn't have Hamed Haddadi when it flew to Manila in December 2018. And the Filipinos were even leading for the majority of the game thanks to the efforts of Jayson Castro.
But Gilas just flamed out down the stretch, with turnovers and bad decisions plaguing that final minute as the team fell apart under pressure and left the Mall of Asia Arena stunned.
Luckily, the Philippines still found a way to make it to the World Cup, but the loss to Iran, coupled with the shock 92-88 defeat to Kazakhstan three days prior, made the homestand an absolute headscratcher.
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