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    Top officials admit clamor from fans swayed Asiad change of heart

    Aug 5, 2018
    POC president Ricky Vargas and the rest of the basketball stakeholders heeded to the call of the fans.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    PHILIPPINE basketball officials admitted the strong clamor by Filipino fans to play in the 2018 Asian Games swayed them to reconsider a decision not to send a team to the quadrennial meet.

    Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas told mediamen during a press conference on Sunday the change of heart was due to the fans’ reaction to the pullout of the basketball team for the Asian Games in Indonesia.

    “We realized that there was a strong clamor from basketball. And since we are the house of basketball, we need to really take a look at it and understand where that clamor is coming from. Galing pala ‘yan sa puso ng ating mga basketball fans,” said Vargas.

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    The POC, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, and the PBA on Sunday officially announced during a hastily called press conference that it is changing its decision not to send a men’s basketball team to the Asian Games.

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    As agreed upon before the initial decision to pull out of the Asiad, the Philippines will be sending a core of Rain or Shine composed of Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga, and Raymund Almazan.

    The national squad will also include other PBA players Stanley Pringle, Paul Lee, JP Erram, Don Trollano, and Christian Standhardinger, as well as Gilas cadet members Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.

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    Vargas said the PBA owners were also instrumental in helping the SBP in forming a competitive team for the Asiad.

    “Team owners, upon the initiative of Alfrancis Chua, started to begin to open up in putting up and suggesting that some of the basketball players who have been selected by our coaches be allowed to join the national team,” said Vargas.

    Vargas also said Special Assistant to the President Bong Go also appealed to the SBP to reconsider its decision.

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    “There was an appeal from one of our biggest basketball fan in the country. His name is simply Bong Go. Bong Go appealed and talked to the PBA and to the SBP for us to see if we can reconsider our participation,” said Vargas.

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    POC president Ricky Vargas and the rest of the basketball stakeholders heeded to the call of the fans.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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