THE exploits of Gilas Pilipinas in the ongoing Fiba World Cup and young archer Gabriel Moreno in the recent Youth Olympic Games hopefully will serve as an inspiration to the entire Philippine team bound for the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia declined to issue medal projections in the country’s stint in the 17th edition of the Asiad set to begin in three weeks’ time.
But what he hopes for is Filipino athletes will be able to compete the way Gilas Pilipinas has been doing in Seville, Spain.
“It’s hard to predict. But I know that, based on how our basketball team is playing in Spain, anything can happen,” said Garcia on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
Incidentally, Gilas Pilipinas is also seeing action in the Asiad where it will vie to end the country’s long gold medal drought that spans 52 years. The country last won the cage gold in 1962 during the Jakarta edition of the event.
Gilas Pilipinas currently carries a 0-3 (win-loss) slate in its world championship stint, but have nearly pulled the rug from under world powers Croatia and Argentina, losing by an average margin of just 3.5 points.
Garcia could only hope all Filipino athletes will play with their hearts out the same way Gilas Pilipinas is doing to win more medals for the country.
“Kung ibigay ng athletes natin na parang binigay ng basketball team natin sa Spain, I think we will be winning more medals. Nakita naman natin ‘yung expectations ng lahat ng tao ay bubugbugin tayo doon sa Spain pero nakita natin na nabuo ang puso ng mga players,” said the PSC chairman.
Another source of inspiration for Filipino athletes is the recent feat of Moreno, who bagged the first gold medal by a Filipino in the YOG by winning a team event in tandem with Li Jiaman of China.
“Hindi tayo naiiwan. Nandoon tayo na there were instances na we shot better. The reason is that buo ‘yung dibdib ng atleta natin,” said Garcia.
As the quadrennial event draws near, Garcia said everything is all set for the Philippine delegation’s campaign in the September 19 to October 4 event.
“We are just about to wind down in some of the training of our athletes. We are making sure all the accommodations, plane tickets, uniforms, and everything that they need will be in place before they leave for Incheon,” said Garcia.