EXPECT Gilas Pilipinas to give Tony Parker a rude welcome – at least on the day the Philippines and France square off in the opener of the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament July 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Parker recently confirmed he is suiting up for the French national team in the Rio Olympics qualifiers, news that’s a boon for basketball fans, while a bane for the Filipino dribblers.
“We will welcome him to Manila and I hope the kababayans welcome him in the way that only the Filipino fans can welcome an opposing player and a player who will be in that situation when we play them very much disliked in this country,” national coach Tab Baldwin said on Monday after the national team’s weekly practice.
“He could possibly be public enemy number one,” he added. “If a hundred million fans denote him as public enemy number one, then he should have a relatively uncomfortable day.”
But after the two teams meet, Gilas can get back to being fans of the San Antonio Spurs star point guard.
“The day after, we can love Tony for all the wonderful things that he is and has given to the game of basketball,” Baldwin said.