IT was a reward that was supposed to motivate Thailand, yet it pumped the Philippines up even more.
Sources said that a major sponsor of the Thai national team dangled a bonus of 8 million baht if the team lost by just 10 points or less to Gilas Pilipinas in their Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship matchup on Tuesday night.
The reward would go up to as much as 10 million baht or roughly P14.4 million if the Thais had pulled off an upset the Filipino dribblers altogether.
The report reached the Gilas camp and national coach Chot Reyes told the news to his wards.
News about the alleged bonuses was also shared by Reyes' wife Cherry on Twitter.
“Sinabi sa amin yun ni coach Chot eh, tapos talagang – I don’t know kung okay lang ‘to sabihin – pero sinabi talaga sa amin na let’s make a point,” Japeth Aguilar bared after their 108-53 win.
“And na-motivate din kami,” he added.
The bonus appeared to motivate the Thais as they stayed within striking distance of the Pinoys the entire first quarter as Gilas only grabbed its first double-digit lead with two minutes gone in the second period.
That’s when Aguilar sparked their breakaway as he stood tallest, scattering 23 points, including a handful of dunks, and five boards, and two blocks in just 17 minutes off the bench.
“Talagang motivation din sa amin yun,” Aguilar admitted, referring to the reward to Thailand.