CHANGSHA, China – Marc Pingris couldn’t thank enough the kind Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who went out of their way cheer for and personally support Gilas Pilipinas in its Fiba Asia Championship campaign here.
For all the help the country’s modern day heroes had extended to the national team, the Star Hotshot forward has vowed to give something back to them once they come back for short vacations or go home for good.
“Kapalit niyan, ipapasok ko at ipapanood sila ng Eat Bulaga,” said Ping, whose father-in-law is no less than Vic Sotto, one of the original hosts of the long-running No. 1 noontime show in the country.
“Ang laking tulong ng mga kababayan natin sa team. Hindi lang sila kababayan, kaibigan namin sila.”
The handful of Filipinos based in this Chinese province showed up for every Gilas Pilipinas game from the time the Filipinos kicked off their campaign against Palestine all the way to the championship match against host China.
They’ve become so close to Gilas team that they began bringing Filipino dishes to the team hotel, especially after the players already began complaining of getting tired of Chinese food.
“Nagpapaluto kami tapos dinadala nila sa hotel, adobo, sinigang, tapa. May isang araw nga naiwan pa ‘yung kaldero sa hotel namin. Taob, e,” said a smiling Pingris, scratching his head.
Jocelyn Samson, who had been in China for 10 years now, was scheduled to go back to the Philippines last Friday and missed Gilas’ semifinal game against Japan and the championship match with China.
The only consolation she got was the chance to watch 'Eat Bulaga' and the phenomenal ‘Aldub’ kalyeserye in person as Pingris and the entire Gilas team returned to the country on Monday.
“Pangako niya ‘yun, e,” she said excitedly while pointing to Pingris.