MEMBERS of Gilas Pilipinas expressed shock and relief after the team arrived home just hours before three suicide bombers launched an attack that killed scores of people at the Istanbul Airport in Turkey.
The national team just arrived last night from a three-week European training camp for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, flying out of Italy to Istanbul, where it took a connecting flight straight to Manila.
Hours upon arriving here, terror attack struck at the Turkish City, where 36 people were killed and dozens more were injured as of posting time.
“Grabe dito lang kami kanina pauwi ng Manila. Wala pang five hours bago nangyari ito,” a stunned Marc Pingris posted in his IG account in response to the CNN breaking news report about the airport bombing.
“Me and my teammates was just there. Wow. Thank you God for watching over us,” said naturalized player Andray Blatche in a separate IG account post.
“I’m really lost for words. I woke up to a lot of texts from friends checking on me. I’m ok. Thanx love ya!:
Coach Tab Baldwin also expressed concern about the victims of the bombings in Turkey, which he said 'was my home for nearly three years.'
"So saddened & worried for friends there. Thank the Lord our Gilas and Turk teams are safe. #Prayers," said the Gilas mentor in his own tweeter account@Hob1111.
Gilas deputy coach Josh Reyes however, was left behind in Europe as he went straight to France to scout Tony Parker and Co. He’s bound home Wednesday night via Istanbul.
“To think that Gilas took a llt in that very airport barely 24 hrs ago, &@josh_reyes who’s scouting France, is set to fly home fr there too,” tweeted former Gilas coach and now Media5 president Chot Reyes on his Twitter account @coachot.
Like the rest of the world, the team also offered prayers for the victims of the horrible attack.
"Thank you Lord for our (Gilas) safe passage out of Istanbul. I'm saddened by what just happened at the Istanbul airport," said Gilas team manager Butch Antonio in his tweeter account@BAAntonio.
“Lord salamat sa pag gabay sa amin ng team Gilas,” added Pingris, while adding the hashtag #prayerforturkey #istanbul