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Croatia vs. Gilas Pilipinas

Ph gov’t hails Gilas Pilipinas’ gallant effort against Croatia team


Croatia vs. Gilas Pilipinas
Croatia vs. Gilas Pilipinas

MALACAÑANG, Philippines – Malacañang hailed on Sunday the impressive performance shown by the Philippine men’s national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, despite an 81-78 overtime loss against Croatia to open its FIBA World Cup bid last Saturday evening (Manila time) in Seville, Spain.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the entire Filipino nation is behind Gilas Pilipinas, cheering and supporting all the way, as they compete against the world’s best basketball teams.

“Nakikiisa ang Pangulo sa buong sambayanan sa paghahatid ng pagbati sa ipinakitang galing at determinasyon ng ating mga manlalaro ng Gilas Pilipinas sa kanilang laban kontra Croatia. Sa kabila ng matinding pagsubok at hamon, nagawa ng Pilipinas na lumaban hanggang huli at umani sila ng paghanga sa mundo ng basketball,” Coloma said over Radyo ng Bayan.

President Benigno S. Aquino III himself, in his interview with Bombo Radyo Philippines last Wednesday, said the Philippines’ return in the world basketball stage after a 36-year absence is a “great opportunity for us to show our talents and our collective attitude as a nation—that we don’t give up easily.”

Those words rang true in Saturday’s game as Gilas Pilipinas (ranked 34th by FIBA) nearly caused an upset against a much-favored Croatian team (ranked 16th by FIBA) in their first game of the elimination round in Group B.

Croatia started the game strong, capitalizing on its height advantage, and established a 15-point lead. It took a while for the Filipinos to respond until they made a run towards the end of the first half, knocking down three-point shots, with team captain Jimmy Alapag even completing a rare four-point play opportunity.

Gilas Pilipinas relied on the shooting prowess of guard Jeff Chan and naturalized center Andray Blatche during most of the second half to keep the game close, even taking a three-point lead towards the end of regulation, but it was Croatia that came on top in overtime.

Notwithstanding the loss, Malacañang remains positive and urged the entire Filipino nation to continue cheering for Gilas Pilipinas regardless of the results of their remaining games ahead. The Philippines is scheduled to play against Greece next, followed by Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Senegal respectively.

“Sa mga manlalaro ng Gilas Pilipinas, kabilang na ang coaching staff, nasa likod ninyo ang buong sambayanang Pilipino at sama-sama ang ating panalangin sa inyong pakikiharap sa mga pinakamahuhusay na basketbolista sa buong mundo. Isigaw natin ang battlecry: “Laban Pilipinas! Puso!” Coloma said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.