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    Icon Fernandez laments seeming indifference to playing for flag and country among today's players

    Jan 13, 2013

    MANY-time national player Mon Fernandez on Saturday said he finds it hard to understand the seeming indifference to playing for flag and country among some of today’s generation of players.

    “Of course, you get disappointed because it only implies that pride of country is no longer the priority of these guys,” said the cage legend in a phone interview with from Cebu where he is now based.

    “It’s their choice, they have reasons. Wala na tayong magagawa, this is a free country,” he added in exasperation.

    The cage icon enjoyed a long, successful in the PBA marked by 19 championships and a record four MVP trophies. But the pride of Maasin, Leyte said his best moments in basketball were spent with the national team.

     ‘El Presidente’ was a stalwart of the last Philippine team to win the Asian championships in Manila in 1973 and consequently earn the right to play in the 1974 world championships in Puerto Rico.

    Fernandez’s last stint in the Philippine tri-color came in 1990 with the Robert Jaworski-led all-pro team that bagged the silver medal in the Beijing Asian Games.

    “When I started playing, my target then was to play for the Philippine flag. Bakit iba na ang panahon ngayon?” Fernandez lamented.

    The PBA legend was certain he would have the same mindset had he been active now.

    “Kahit ngayon, ganun ang mindset ko. Iba ang pakiramdam ng ipaglaban mo ang bansa mo,” he said. “Kung pwede nga lang akong lumaro ngayon, baka last year pa ako nage-ensayo.”

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