THE PHILIPPINES drew a line on the sand and said, "Not without a fight."
The youngest national squad in history rose to the occasion, pulling off a gallant run against world no. 5 Serbia, 83-76, early Thursday morning (Philippine time) in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
It was the wee hours of the morning, but this basketball-loving nation was very much alive.
Coaches, players, and sports personalities shared that the 'almost upset' was still a win for the Filipino underdogs.
Former national team coach Chot Reyes, from the get-go, aired live updates of the tense game.
Two a.m. tip off? No problem.
"Sanay kami diyan," the veteran tactician said.
Former PBA commissioner Noli Eala applauded the Gilas youngsters.
"Gilas can pull [off] the unthinkable," Kom Noli tweeted late in the 4th as Gilas manages to slim the lead to just a point.
And at the end, he gave the Twitter equivalent of a standing ovation.
"For a few mins in the 4th, Im sure we entertained thoughts of a win against mighty Serbia. And Gilas had a good shot," wrote Eala.
The Power & Play host added: "Proud of these young men."
Thirdy Ravena, who's former teammates with almost three-fourths of the young squad, weighed in.
"Grabe parin kayo, Gilas! Ang sarap maging Pinoy!" the San-En NeoPhoenix guard said.
Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu proudly aired his sentiments, highlighting how the young, inexperiened squad gave the Goliaths a legitimate scare.
"Imagine this young squad has barely played together and are already able to compete with the best in the world. What more in 2 years time? Trust the Process. Trust in Tab! It took some late game heroics from Boban to defeat our team," he said.
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