HOMESICKNESS is obviously fast catching up with members of the Gilas Pilipinas team.
Away from the country for the past seven days as they step up preparations for the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship, most members of the Philippine national team are already longing for home with still a full week left in their training camp in Lithuania.
Coach Chot Reyes spoke about the mood in camp on his Twitter account @coachot when he tweeted, “Now d tediousness, homesickness, and fatigue are kicking in. How do we react?” shortly after the nationals suffered their first loss against club team LSU-Batai, 89-86.
Obviously, three of the players’ spouses couldn’t agree more.
“Homesick na nga raw sila lahat dun. Antagal na rin kasi,” said Jenn, wife of hotshot Gary David.
Mrs. David told Spin.ph her husband has been in constant contact with them by phone and online, yet that has hardly eased the yearning the David household has for the head of the family.
“Everyday nga siyang tumatawag sa amin saka nakikipag Facetime (a video call application), tapos nilalaro niya doon mga anak niya,” shared Mrs. David.
“Para ngang loko kasi inaabot niya sa screen `yung bunso (Jeylaa) namin. Kala mo naman lulusot sa screen `yung kamay niya.”
Mrs. David added how her husband frequently asks her to send new photos of their children via Viber, another phone application.
“Tapos `yung mga pictures na naipadala ko, ina-upload naman niya sa Instagram niya. Ganun niya ka-miss `yung mga anak namin,” added Jenn, who nonetheless made it clear that she’s aware that everything is part of the sacrifices the team has to do for country’s sake.
Late Gilas addition Beau Belga is in the same boat.
Belga’s wife Queenie revealed how her husband would try not to show emotions even in times of solitude.
“Homesick na siya dun. Ramdam namin, kasi pag ma-iiyak na kaming mag-ina sa Facetime, ibababa na niya `yung phone,” said Queenie about her daily conversations with her husband.
“Ayaw niya rin kasing ipakita na umiiyak siya. Alam ko naman na naluluha rin siya, sabi lang niya na, “Ba-bye na, matutulog na ako,” added Mrs. Belga, whose husband was the last man to leave for the Baltic region last Wednesday.
“Hindi kasi kami sanay nang wala siya. Ngayon `yung pinakamatagal na wala siya sa tabi namin ni Zach,” she said.
Aside from missing his wife and son, the burly Rain or Shine center is also trying to cope up with Lithuanian food.
“Sawa na raw siya sa pagkain run. Iba kasi ang mga pagkain run. Wala din daw extra rice,” said Queenie as she tried to lighten up the conversation.
Good thing, according to Queenie, the entire Gilas delegation is often treated to a feast of its favorite Filipino dish adobo cooked and prepared by one of the team’s ballboys.
While she also misses her husband badly, LA Tenorio’s wife Chesca admitted to Spin.ph that it’s her 14-month-old son Santi who is affected the most by his father’s absence.
A working mom, Chesca said it’s LA who’s the one who normally spends more time at home with their boy.
“May pasok kasi ako, kaya mas madalas magkasama talaga `yung mag-ama, especially sa hapon playtime sila. Yun ang hinahanap ni Santi,” said Mrs. Tenorio.
“And everytime, I will ask about his dad. Santi would point at the pictures,” added Chesca who’s tasked by Tenorio to send pictures of them every morning and before bedtime.
Four more tune-up games are calendared in Gilas’ itinerary, including one against the Lithuanian under-23 team on Wednesday morning (Manila time).
Currently, the team holds a 2-1 record in its tune-up matches, winning its first two games against Klaipeidos Neptunas and Birstono Jazz Diremta before the loss to LSU Baitai.