THE man credited for the resurgence of Philippine basketball believes that like Gilas Pilipinas, the country will be able to overcome adversity brought about by super typhoon Yolanda and the deadly earthquake that hit the Visayas region one after the other.
Manny V. Pangilinan, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and chief backer of the national cage team, encouraged the entire Filipino nation to overcome the tragedy that hit this basketball-crazy country the past few weeks in the same manner Gilas Pilipinas was able to rise above the challenge in its campaign in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship to earn a berth in the 2014 Fiba-World Cup.
“Sana maski paano ang kuwentong Gilas ay magsilbing inspirasyon sa ating bayan, lalo na sa mga napinsala ng lindol at nasalanta ng bagyo,” said Pangilinan in his moving speech during the Annual PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Tuesday night at the Wack Wack Golf Club.
“Tulad ng Gilas, kaya natin lahat bumangon.”
The entire Gilas Pilipinas was feted on this special night for its improbable runner-up finish behind powerhouse Iran in the recent Fiba-World Cup qualifier in Spain.
It was the first time the country qualified for the world stage in the last 35 years.
But the journey to the top wasn’t that easy as Pangilinan recounted, ranging from the country’s good fortune of being rewarded the hosting of the biennial cage meet after initially losing the bidding war to Lebanon, all the way to coach Chot Reyes’ failure to get the players he wanted.
And yet, the nationals strived with what they’ve got and combined it with hardwork and heart.
“The story of Gilas and the recent tragedies remind us that we’re tied together in this life, in this nation in basketball – that the despair of some touches us all,” stressed the telecommunication mogul.
“Puso – Laban Pilipinas.”