CHANGSHA, China – As the captain of the ship, Dondon Hontiveros is the first one to stand defiant and exude confidence over Gilas Pilipinas' ability to come back from a heartrending setback.
Even in the aftermath of the team’s loss against Palestine in the Fiba Asia Championship, the veteran wingman said the tournament has a long way to go, giving the national team enough time to gather its composure and get back in contention.
“It’s a long tournament, we just have to stay positive,” said the veteran Alaska stalwart after Gilas botched an 11-point fourth quarter lead and allowed the Palestinians to escape with a 75-73 win on Wednesday before a stunned crowd at the Changsa Social Work Colleges gymnasium here.
Hontiveros, the senior member of the team along with big man Asi Taulava, scored only three points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field in the loss which he described as ‘a tough pill to swallow.’
The Cebuano stalwart admitted Gilas’ shooting abandoned the team during the most crucial time of the game, which the Palestinians were quick to pounce on.
“We’re not making our shots, and that was the time when they (Palestinians) made their shots. Everything was falling for them,” said Hontiveros.
Other than that, complacency appeared to have gotten the better of Gilas.
“For a while, we got comfortable with the lead,” said Hontiveros.