Two worthy news we should talk about.
Argentina and Greece are the two toughest teams in FIBA. In general we did not lose big margins against the world’s best. Of course against Greece, mejo tambak ang score. But, imagine, Argentina, the #3 best team in the world, really sweated it out against Gilas. What a comeback for Filipinos.
We haven’t fought in the Basketball World Cup for 36 years! That’s older than I am. Consider this, we are totally newbies in this year’s World Cup. Tab Baldwin, a Gilas consultant, had this to say, “We know how tough it is for us to compete against the world’s best. But we’re in this to fight and try to win. We’re undersized. We’re not used to this level of competition. Yet our goal is to fight to win every game. We owe that to the Filipino people.” (The Philippine Star 2014).
Totally undersized, (though we have one Blatche), but we can speak of a totally homegrown team, who really fought and never backed down. We went up against towering players – with most teams having NBA stars in their rosters. Amidst loses, we really made a statement among the world’s best. Senegal was our sweet exit. Senegal was tough, man, but “Filipinos play to hurt,” as one Greek complained.
Gilas translated to English is gallantry. Yeah that virtue still exists!
Major General Ricardo Visaya said, “wala yan (pagsuko) sa bokabularyo ng Armed Forces of the Philippines ang mag-surrender. We will not surrender to our enemies (It is not in the vocabulary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surrender).” (Umel 2014)
Apparently the Filipino contingent was asked to surrender their arms to Syrian rebels. The order of the UN Disengagement Observer Force Commander Iqbal Sing Singha (an Indian national), is to raise the white flag in case Syrian rebels lay siege to two Filipino manned posts at the Golan heights. As the case happened, Captain Nilo Ramones decided to remain and engaged the rebels in a seven hour fire-fight. One soldier commented, (I write this from memory) pinapatay nga nila ang kapwa nila Muslim ano pa kaya gagawin nila sa amin. Negotiation – nunca. Above all, they remained and defended their posts as an honorable duty to preserve peace as UN contingents. Magilas kayo. Thanks to the Irish soldiers who provided an escape route for our brave soldiers.