GLOBALPORT team owner Mikee Romero expects the PBA and basketball in the country to reach greater heights following Gilas Pilipinas' successful run in the 27th Fiba-Asia Championship.
Romero was among the thousands who witnessed how passionate Filipinos are as far as the sport is concerned, following the national team every step of the way in its quest for a return trip to the World Basketball Championship set in Spain next year.
“Buhay na buhay na uli ang basketball (dito), and which I believe will transcend to the PBA’s continued success,” said Romero, who watched Gilas Pilipinas make the semifinals of the biennial meet on Friday night following an 88-58 rout of Kazakhstan in their knockout quarterfinals.
Romero was with his son, along with trusted lieutenant Eric Arejola, also Globalport team representative to the PBA board, during the lopsided match witnessed by a crowd of 17,000 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The PBA, Asia’s pioneer and longest-running pro league, usually suffered at the gates every time the national team – which is usually comprised of professional players - performed below expectations in major international tournaments.
But with Gilas Pilipinas in strong contention for one of three world championship berths at stake in the tournament, Romero expects things to be different this time.
“Ang laking bagay talaga if you’re the host,” said Romero, who ranks No. 26 on the recent Forbes list of richest Filipinos.
At the same time, the young businessman who once bankrolled the country’s campaign in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand, was proud to have seen Globalport stalwart Gary David finally regain his shooting touch with the tournament now on gits most crucial stage.
David had a team-high 22 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range in leading Gilas Pilipinas to a 30-point rout of the highly-physical Kazakhstan side.
“I’m very happy that at last, Gary was able to play that kind of game. I know it’s his dream to have a breakout game. He proved that he belongs with the national team, and he proved that he’s really a big-time player,” said Romero of the shooting guard out of Lyceum, who struggled with his shooting during the preliminaries.