SMART Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0 received a fitting sendoff two days before it departs for Tokyo for the Fiba Asia Cup.
The Philippine Senate on Monday passed a resolution commending and honoring the Nationals for winning the 34th William Jones Cup basketball championship two weeks ago in Chinese-Taipei.
Senators Koko Pimentel, chairman of the committee on games and amusement, and Senator Antonio Trillanes, chairman of the committee on amateur sports, sponsored the senate resolution to which all the senators later attached their names.
Senator Pia Cayetano also filed a separate resolution congratulating Ginebra’s LA Tenorio for being adjudged as the Most Valuable Player of the annual cagefest.
“This makes the players realize the impact of what we did,” said Reyes, describing as "priceless" the personal copy of the Senate resolution given later to all team members.
A few days upon their arrival from the Jones Cup, the national team also made a courtesy call on President Aquino and presented him the shining championship trophy symbolizing their supremacy in the tournament which they finished with a 7-1 (win-loss) record.
Except for Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan, who are currently in Bangkok for a short vacation as management’s incentive for Rain or Shine’s successful championship campaign in the PBA Governors Cup, the entire Gilas 2.0 team was present during the short ceremony on the Senate floor.
Among them were Tenorio, Mac Baracael, Sonny Thoss, Jay-R Reyes, Enrico Villanueva, Larry Fonacier, Gary David, Sol Mercado, Ranidel de Ocampo, Garvo Lanete, naturalized player Marcus Douthit, and new Fil-Am guard Matt Rosser.
Reyes was with his coaching staff of Ryan Gregorio, Josh Reyes, and Jong Uichico, team manager Butch Antonio, and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios and assistant Bernie Atienza.
“This will spur us more to try and bring honor to the country,” added Reyes, who will be leaving with the Nationals on Wednesday for the September 14-22 meet formerly known as the Stankovic Cup.
The Philippines is bracketed in Group A along with China, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, and Macau, while in Group B are Iran, Chinese-Taipei, Japan, Qatar, and India.