AFTER a tumultuous couple of weeks for Philippine basketball, one of the chief backers of the national team program is happy to finally see some good news for a change.
Ronald Mascarinas of Chook to Go said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' decision to send Ateneo to the 40th Jones Cup turned out to be a good idea, given the way the Blue Eagles handled themselves both on and off the court.
Not only did the Blue Eagles finish fourth in a field of nine that included the national teams of Chinese-Taipei and Korea, the reigning UAAP champions also earned the respect of fans and opponents alike, Mascarinas said.
That comes as a breath of fresh air for Philippine basketball, weeks after the brawl that marred Gilas' game against Australia in the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifier.
“Yun lang accolades na nakuha nila from other teams, the Ateneo team earned the respect of all the other teams. They not only respected the way we play basketball. Itong collegiate team pa. Yung sportsmanship na pinakita nila," said Mascarinas, the president and CEO of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc.
"Yung sinasabi nga ni coach Tab (Baldwin), they showed a lot of respect to the players, to themselves and to the sport of basketball,” added Mascarinas. “It’s a redeeming grace for us that they were really excellent, goodwill ambassadors for the country.”
Mascarinas was so impressed with the way the Eagles handled themselves in the tournament that he handed P100,000 incentives to Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto, who were seen helping out an Korean player in a viral video.
“Somehow, they’ve started the process of repairing the reputation of the Philippines. On and off the court, they really gave a good account of themselves representing the country.”