THEY may not be inside the Mall of Asia Arena or nowhere close to the Philippines for that matter, but overseas-based Filipino workers are one with the nation in cheering for Gilas in the Fiba-Asia championships.
As the Philippine national team goes to the knockout rounds of the world championship qualifier, Pinoy workers from all over the world say they take pride in the heroic stand shown by the national team so far.
For Katherine Tagle, an English teacher based in South Korea for six years now, Gilas Pilipinas is showing the world that the Filipino is a true warrior not just in sports' battlegrounds but in life as well.
“Of course I'm very proud pag nananalo ang Gilas Pilipinas,” she told Spin.ph in an e-mail. “Kasi bilang isang Pilipino, karangalan na maipakita ko kahit nasa ibang bansa ang dugong nananalaytay sa akin ay isang mabagsik at magaling na Pinoy!
"Doble ang saya kasi maipagmamalaki ko talaga sa mga katrabaho ko ang gilas nating mga Pilipino san man tayong dako ng mundo,” she added.
Tagle, 26, said Gilas' exploits lift the spirit of Filipinos based overseas.
“Katulad ko na dayuhan sa ibang bansa, mas lumalakas ang aking loob lalo pag nananalo tayo. Iba ang spirit at dating eh, proud ka hindi lang sa sarili mo kundi sa buong Pilipinas at mundo. Naipapakita natin na kaya natin lumaban, kahit sa ganitong paraan eh naitatayo natin ang bandila ng Pilinas!”
“Karangalan ko, karangalan natin to sobra! Laban Gilas Pilinas!”
Paul Rosal, who works for Europcar in Dubai in UAE, said he derives pride from seeing Gilas hold its own against the much-improved sides of Arab countries.
“Bilang Pilipino proud tayo sa achievments ng kalahi natin,” he said. “Nakakataas ng morale yung pagkapanalo ng Pilipinas lalo na sa GCC (Gulf Coast Countries), the fact na ang gagaling din maglaro ng mga Arab countries sa basketball. So nakaka-proud talaga.”
Francis Santiago, an HR executive in Singapore, said he draws inspiration from each Gilas victory.
“Of course, very proud ako kasi I can even tell my international friends here that the Philippines maybe a third world country but we can be one of the best in Asia the way Gilas is performing,” he said.
“Inspiring din, lalo at nanalo. Kasi if you are living and working abroad, any good news related to your home country is something that uplifts your spirit and patriotism,” he added.
Santiago shared that even some of the Filipinos in Singapore would stay up late just to catch the videos of Gilas' games on the internet.
“Some of my Filipino friends here even watch the replay of Gilas games online kahit past 12 (midnight) na kasi late na rin labas nila sa work,” he said.
For 42-year-old nurse Rainer Ecang, who has lived in Chicago for the past 18 years, Gilas victories, like any good news from back home, make him proud to be a Filipino.
“I'm very proud every time the Philippines is mentioned,” he said. “I'm proud to be a Filipino even my kids are pro Filipino.”
“Go Gilas!” said Victor Lazaro of Alberta, Canada.