Great Italian job rewards diminutive Rae Lin D'Alie with plenty of new Filipino fans
Rae Lin D'Alie celebrates with Filipino fans at the Philippine Arena. Jerome Ascano

BOCAUE — Rae Lin D’Alie may be many miles away from home, but Italy definitely felt the homecourt love at Philippine Arena.

She could’ve been mistaken for a Filipino, too, hearing Gilas’ famed battlecry, “Puso!” after her side entered the Finals.

That outpouring of support truly factored in the Italians’ stunning gold-medal win over Russia in the women’s championship in the 2018 Fiba 3x3 World Cup, celebrating the success with their throngs of new fans on Tuesday.

“We wanna say thank you. Thank you for coming out and filling the stadium,” said the 5-foot-4 D’Alie, who was an instant hit among Filipino fans thanks to her jaw-dropping moves.

“I think if you just love people and just spread light, it’s gonna come back and I saw that a lot here. We just feed off the people’s energy, and that was big for us.”

Italy was already garnering cheers as early as pool play, and the 30-year-old guard said that those encouragements buoyed her side to reach new heights.

“I think we already had the support of the home court before the quarterfinals, but I think we really believed we could do it from there. Personally, I thought from the quarterfinals, I really thought we could really do it. And then, we were like, ‘Everybody hold on,’ cause we’re just gonna take energy and we’re just gonna go,” she said.

Soaking in the love from the Filipino audience, D’Alie wishes nothing but the best for the lady ballers of this country.

She says sees in the Perlas squad a little bit of how her Italian crew were when they were starting.

“They’re awesome. They showed a lot of heart. People here, your players, they grind, they get down and they get tough,” she said. “You could tell that there’s a lot just inside them and that’s how we started. We ain’t winning tournaments. We would arrive in the 20th place, and then a little bit more. A couple of years past, we were eighth, then a couple of more years past that, we were fifth. This year came and now we’re first.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

D’Alie is just hoping that the foundation built by the Philippine women’s 3x3 team will bring brighter days ahead for the program in the future.

“You just keep grinding and you just keep believing. You keep putting yourself around the right people who believe in you and the fruit will come,” she said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @dolphtrythis