10 October 2015

Bayan o Sarili?

Bayan o Sarili
What do you do to stem the tide of the public’s anger after you failed to support the country’s interest? Remain mum on the issue and hope that the noise dies soon or blame others for your failure? San Miguel Corporation (SMC) adopted a latter and the strategy only made matters worse.

Concerned with the public backlash over its failure to release some of its stalwarts to the Gilas Pilipinas national team, including a boycott of its products, SMC has tried to salvage the situation and hopefully turn it around.

Their approach was to effectively blaming the players concerned and not the SMC management. In fact, Purefoods’ governor Rene Pardo’s published statement that they have “no control over our players’ decision when it comes to competing for the national team.”

The strategy did not fly among the avid basketball followers. They even viewed the statement as insulting degrading. After years of supporting the league and following the hardcourt actions, almost everyone in the country with rational basketball sense are well aware of how the PBA operates and to what extent team owners control their players.

Pardo even suggests that they “debate on the merits of them joining as a professional player. However, in the end representing your country is an incomparable honor. You can’t argue with that.”

This last statement reeks of insensitivity. Why would anybody debate about sending the best that the country can offer in international events? To gain international recognition in any area, there is no doubt that the country will have to be represented by somebody who can bring back the honor.

In his statement, Pardo added that SMC management will “continue to encourage” its players “to make themselves available” for the national team.

In effect, he was trying to turn things around by blaming the players and not management when everyone knows all too well that the players, especially Marc Pingris, has long wanted to play for the Gilas team. Otherwise, why would he cry when bidding farewell to his teammates and state he was constrained by things beyond his control.

Now SMC tries, in its desperation, to lay the blame on the players.

Japeth Aguilar’s reason for pulling out was because he underwent surgery for an injured pinky finger with photos to justify his decision. A few days later, he was slam-dunking in the Ginebra practice and in the exhibition game with the Jordanian national team.

LA Tenorio claimed he was too tired and needed a rest before the PBA season begins. Can he walk? Can he stand? Can he run? If he can do all these, then he should play for the country. Nobody can claim they are too tired to represent the country, because if this is the case, our soldiers will not lay their lives defending the freedom of Tenorio to stay and rest.

Spin.ph ran an excellent piece on the present situation and said: “Allow us to warn you: there is already simmering anger among fans over this Gilas mess, and a campaign to boycott not just the PBA but its member companies is gaining steam. While it may not come to that, better brace yourselves for a huge backlash.

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