30 September 2015

They Are Not Needed, But They Are Still in China

Jayson Castro
After beating India, 99-65, and complete a sweep of the second round in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship Tuesday in Changhsa, China, Gilas Pilipinas will head into the knockout stages with all the momentum having topped Group E with a 4-1 record.

However, everything is still a work in progress. The team still needs a lot of improvement, which would have been made easy if not for the seemingly indifferent stance of teams under the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) umbrella and the officials of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to lend players to the program. A lot could have been, but none made a great effort.

The only contribution, thus far, from the SMC and the PBA is to send their top officials to cheer for Gilas. Led by president and CEO Chito Salud, board chairman Robert Non, SMC Governor Alfrancis Chua and Commissioner Chito Narvasa, the PBA delegation was expected to sit behind the team and appear proud of what they have done, or in this case, failed to do.

Why are they there? So far, the team managed to overcome the obstacles without their tremendous effort. So far, the team was able to survive without the PBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Junemar Fajardo and the rest of the SMC standout players, except Marc Pingris.

These PBA officials are not needed nor critical to the team's success, so why are they in China? Are they there to soften the public's backlash against their inability to provide substantial support, especially in lending players?

An opening day loss to Palestine in the first round of the preliminaries set back some the Gilas’ momentum leading up to the competition, but they regrouped instantly to blow away Hong Kong and Kuwait in a highly-physical game before overwhelming powerhouse Iran and outworking India.

They will not face a do-or-die game against Lebanon, who is being coached by previous Gilas mentor Rajko Toroman.

The Philippines is looking to return to the Olympic stage for the first time in 44 years since Munich, Germany in 1972.

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