CHANGSA, China – The startling loss suffered by Gilas Pilipinas in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship Wednesday against unheralded Palestine brought back memories of the same defeat the Philippine team had to endure against Chinese-Taipei during the Manila edition of the meet two years ago.
But unlike that 84-79 setback against the Taiwanese at the end of the first round preliminary, this one came right on the team’s opening game in Group B of the tournament, which the Filipinos were expected to easily top.
“It’s the same feeling we had when we lost against Chinese-Taipei in Manila,” recalled team manager Butch Antonio.
“But this time medyo mas masakit because opening game natin. And unlike two years ago when we had a break following the loss, ngayon we have to play Hong Kong less than 24 hours after.”
Gilas faces Hong Kong, an 87-50 winner over Kuwait earlier in the day, on Thursday for its second game in the meet, where the champion gets the lone Asian qualifying berth to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Antonio remembered having to accompany Gilas back then to sooth its wounded pride by going out together as a team, where captain Jimmy Alapag would deliver an inspiring talk.
There’s no enough time for such bonding now as the team needs to put the setback behind its mind as soon as possible.
“We have to move on from here. We just have to forget about this loss and be ready against Hongkong (on Thursday),” said the long-time national team manager.