PLAYING against Gilas Pilipinas recently as it prepares for the Fiba Asia Men’s Championships, Talk ‘N Text veteran Danny Seigle couldn't help but recall memories of his own time with the national team - albeit a not so good ones.
Now 36, Seigle was supposed to be the lynchpin of what many still considers one of the most complete Philippine national teams ever, one assembled under the watchful eyes of legendary coach Ron Jacobs as the country prepared for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.
Unfortunately, he never got to suit up in his first-ever crack at the Philippine team spot after disaster struck just days before the nationals were to leave for the Asiad.
During an exhibition game against the Qatar national team at the Araneta Coliseum, Seigle, who many saw as the best offensive weapon of the Philippine quintet, suffered a torn right Achilles tendon while going for a jumper.
The injury would leave the former Wagner College stalwart out of the national squad, and later, force him to sit out the entire 2003 season of the PBA.
No wonder “Dynamite Danny’ couldn’t help but look back at that 'tough moment in my career' after watching – and playing against – Gilas as the team geared up for the September 23 to October 4 tournament that serves as qualifier to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
“Every time I watch a Gilas game, there’s always that thinking about ‘what could have been,’” Seigle disclosed to Spin.ph.
He added, “That was a tough moment in my career. One of the most disappointing things because that’s one game before we were leaving (for the Asian Games). I just remembered being devastated for not being able to play.”
The injury incurred by Seigle was just among the hitches the team encountered prior and during the Asiad in itself.
Jacobs would be replaced as coach by top deputy Jong Uichico after the former Loyola Marymount and Northern Consolidated mentor suffered a massive heart attack even before he could put together his lineup.
It also had to endure the pain of its heartbreaking loss to host South Korea in the semifinals, where it lost by a hairline, 69-68, behind the game-winning three-pointer of Lee Sang Min at the buzzer.
Seigle eventually got to don the national colors when he was made part of coach Chot Reyes’ team that competed in the 2007 Fiba-Asia Championship in Tokushima, Japan.
Although the 6-foot-6 Talk ‘N Text wingman managed to play, he wasn’t really 100 percent that time as he was bothered by a hamstring injury.
“I guess I just didn’t have a lot of luck with (the national team),” he said smiling.
And that’s the reason why he tries to give to the present Gilas side any support he could offer, like giving his best against them during the recent MVP Cup, just to make up for the misfortune he had during his time with the national team.
Having the opportunity to face the present-day national team on the court, Seigle said he likes Gilas chances in the Fiba Asia meet set to be held in Changsha, China.
“It’s a great program and they’re doing very well with it,” he said.