A crazy party greeted Gilas Pilipinas Wednesday night during its send-off party for 17th Asian Games the at the Max’s Restaurant in Gateway, Cubao.
Led by coach Chot Reyes, the entire team was on hand and graciously posed for photos with the fans and signed autographs be it on a piece of paper, a shirt, or replica of basketball jerseys.
Marc Pingris, one of the most popular and well-loved Gilas players, expressed his overwhelming gratitude to the fans for supporting the team right from its campaign in last year’s Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship to recent Fiba World Cup in Spain.
“Maraming, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng mga sumu-suporta sa amin, sa lahat ng nagdasal, salamat po," he said.
Gilas will be leaving for Incheon, South Korea on Saturday as it tries to finally end the country’s 52-year-long gold medal drought in the Asiad.
A concert immediately followed the greet-and-meet affair, which unfortunately, went out of control as fans who had been drove away from the jampacked restaurant, forced their way up to the stage and leaped over the barricade.
Following short messages from some of the players and a performance by Quest, the concert had to be abruptly shortened as crowd control began to wane.
“Ok sana kasi may fans day 'yung Gilas, makita namin sila, pa-picture. Pero 'yung iba (na fans) nagkagulo na hanggang sa di na na-control,” said one Gilas fan.
“Kaya ayan tuloy pagkatapos ng gulo bumaba na sa stage yung mga players,” he added.”Kaya 'di ko na alam tuloy kung tinapos na dahil doon or aalis na lang talaga sila.”