2019 FIBA WORLD CUP | THE GILAS PILIPINAS POST-MORTEM




As the “best” players in our land return and await persecution, the consensus is that Gilas Pilipinas was good enough to break out of the Asia qualifiers but is a long way to go in terms of global dominance.

Well… I’m just stating the obvious.

#105pointlosingmarginin2games

But the crazy thing here is that when the PBA hits after the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the fans might have to brace for a ton of shitty decisions, a barrage of what-ifs and an outcry for change… to further destroy Philippine basketball.


QUESTIONS  

Basketball will always and forever be controversial especially with our level of passion.

So let me enumerate a bunch of situations that could possibly hound the FIBA World Cup combatants.

Why is Yeng Guiao the team’s coach and how long is he going to coach? What did Chot Reyes do that he couldn’t? Are the likes of Rajko Toroman, Tab Baldwin or some random international coach available? Why the hell was Kiefer Ravena given a shit-ton of minutes despite a long lull from competitive hoops? 

What drove Jayson Castro as well as Ray Parks and Scottie Thompson from NOT joining Gilas Pilipinas? Who picked the talent pool? What would have been the case if Terrence Romeo was still part of TNT and wasn’t ostracized to join Gilas Pilipinas? What is happening to the naturalization papers of Justin Brownlee and if he’s not the top choice, then what about Chris McCollough and Terrence Jones?

Jordan Clarkson to Gilas… whatever happened to that?

Who was supposed to be the leader of Gilas Pilipinas?

Wait…

Is this the reason why Guiao was shoving Beau Belga on our throats?!?  

WHERE WAS THE GODDAMN LEADERSHIP IN CHINA?

Wait… I already said this.

Is this important?

OF COURSE, THIS IS GODDAMN IMPORTANT!

And if the situation is that grave, you should expect a senate probe.  

Yikes.


OTHER SPORTS

I know the Philippines has a handicap with regards to our size and development especially when compared to the other basketball superpowers.

So... let’s switch to other sports! 

Is it that easy? 

The thing about this though is that there isn’t exactly a sport we could turn to. 

In terms of Olympic aspirations, our best chance for a medal is Hidilyn Diaz. With that said, we just don’t give a rat’s ass on weightlifting. You can’t lift what she has lifted if you don’t have the heart to do it but FOR SOME REASON, the sport can’t get noteworthy coverage even if it’s held in a stage… just like beauty pageants and noontime shows. 

Just imagine Eat Bulaga discovering our first Olympic gold medalist! 

Ditto for athletics and aquatics. Not since the days of Lydia de Vega were we dominant. If you tell me that the only names you know with regards to these sports are Elma Muros and Akiko Thompson, then… you’re probably not alone. 

Diving is still reeling from the ridiculous attempts of John David Pahoyo and John Emerson Fabriga almost half a decade ago despite producing a talent like Shiela Marie Perez from that same time.

Next to basketball, volleyball has overtaken football in terms of popularity but we’re barely contenders in Southeast Asia. There was a time when people followed the rise of the Azkals as well as rugby's Philippine Volcanoes but as soon as we saw the need to follow nearly three hours of kicking without a semblance of a goal, we reverted back to basketball. We were on the verge of developing football but now Phil Younghusband and James Younghusband are in their 30s and I doubt if you can name the next star of the sport.

Meanwhile, our volleybelles had to do sexy pictorials and beauty pageants to advertise their spiking prowess. Don't get me wrong, volleyball is more popular than what it was a decade ago but we are not in the level of competition as that of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia

Competitive cycling went to hibernation in our country (and reverted into a squad goal) ever since the country outlawed the term “Marlboro Tour”. They tried to resurrect the sport a couple of years ago but got outmuscled by fun runs and American Ninja Dragon-like events.

Bowling, unfortunately for pin-strikers like Paeng Nepomuceno... just became a way for guys to date chicks. When was the last time you’ve heard of AMF-Puyat?

Most Filipinos are too poor to own a horse so equestrian dominance is also out of the question.

I bet you still like to see Manny Pacquiao score a win in international soil and is bent to see the return of Eduard Folayang to One Championship awesomeness but it’s not like we’ll see four to five-year-old kids from all walks of life upper-cutting their classmates as part of their physical education class.

When was the last time you watched billiards? 

Did you know that Carlo Biado is a F'N pool genius? 

Basketball is and always going to be our first priority as well as our number one fallback. We can diss it for all we could care but there is a reason why it is the only sport you can see in your television sets every single day!

At least DOTA 2 is going to be a medal sport in the SEA Games.  

GO TNC!!! 


EMPTY SEATS


The thing about these international tiffs is that they serve as indicators to the X number of fans either in attendance or on their television sets. A lot of fans returned to the PBA when they finally broke the Korean curse… and perhaps the same set of fans sighed away from the league when its players were involved in the Aussie melee.

The PBA had an awesome following in the 90s but when Olsen Racela missed two free throws and Lee Sang Min struck that blasted triple to jumpstart the Korean problem, the PBA lost their primetime dominance to the Pinoy telenovelas.

Sure, the PBA will get their audience in the playoffs (especially if they do well in the SEA Games) but expect the Governors’ Cup to be a ghost town of sorts unless it’s not a Ginebra, Magnolia or San Miguel game.



RIPE ENOUGH?  


The 2018 PBA Draft class is littered with superstars. In fact, two of which played in the World Cup and many believe that they are the future of Philippine basketball.

What sucks though is that it feels as if their awesome showing is the beginning of the end of their superstar careers. Northport traded Stanley Pringle to Ginebra without hesitation because they saw something in Robert Bolick. The thing about the talented San Beda cager who looks as if he came from the bygone PBA era is that he is currently playing in a team that has history of giving away their players to either the SMC (Pringle, Solomon Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, etc.) or the MVP Group (Terrence Romeo, Gary David, etc.). Some careers were reduced to shambles because they had the unfortunate trade route of landing to the former GlobalPort Batang Pier squad and Bolick could be a prospect for MVP and SMC teams since the former Red Lion had ties with the MVP Group and SMC is hellbent to continue their PBA dominance.

On the other hand… CJ Perez is playing for the Columbian Dyip – a team now owned by the Phoenix Fuel Masters and has been historically bad ever since they used their first-ever pick to select boxing (not basketball) icon, Manny Pacquiao. The MVP group was able to one-up the former Mahindra Enforcers by obtaining the draft rights of Troy Rosario. Meanwhile, you are a basketball illiterate if you don’t know the story behind Christian Standhardinger’s San Miguel stint.

With that said, while Columbian is a good place for Perez to explore his superstar potential, he’ll likely miss a lot of postseason goodness if his team fails to annex a couple of big names.

So I guess if you’re Perez, will you be happy being the top dog of a mediocre team or would you rather battle for minutes in a star-studded squad… whether this is your decision or not?  



TROLLS

Let’s just remember that the future is still alright as far as our brand of basketball goes. Kiefer Ravena struggled mightily in China but I expect him to bounce back. June Mar Fajardo will probably continue being the key backup but this could change especially if Gilas chooses a REAL stretch big as a naturalized player. Injuries derailed the likes of Matthew Wright, JP Erram and Marcio Lassiter from joining but they might heed the call as early as the SEA Games.

And who knows, maybe would see the return of Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva.

But we need to help the team by boosting their confidence.

Inasmuch as they sucked in China, we sucked as fans as well. I don’t know if what most online fans are doing is a case of reverse psychology but I’m pretty sure calling them names and telling them to die isn’t the best way to motivate these players.

Or to merely state the obvious… coach.

And I bet these trolls will have physical manifestations when the PBA resumes their season. Either this would be an on-court thing like what happened to Wynne Arboleda or an off-court altercation like what happened to Terrence Romeo or worse... Jeron Teng. Some players can shrug these statements but I bet a lot of them could go apeshit on hopefully inanimate objects with again hopefully… zero intentions of driving their frustrations to the next level.

I understand the fans who expected at least a fighting chance to get disappointed. What I don’t understand are the fans who just want to troll the players. I know patriotism is just a positive term for discrimination (I even saw an online war revolving around Tagalogs and Visayans) but I just can’t believe the words of fans with how they describe our brand of basketball. If you don’t want to see the results or if you don’t care about the progress of this sport, then you can always turn off your notifications, un-friend the people that follows the sport and most importantly, keep your views to yourself.

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The biggest challenge for the basketball bigwigs would happen in their post-event meeting. People are looking for answers as to why this nightmare happened. I expect heads to roll but I am also expecting positive results. Yes, we need an extended period of preparation but since most teams are also scattered with some of them in the NBA and then some of them playing imports elsewhere and some of them in different teams in Europe, I hate to say this but this is beginning to be another one of our scapegoats. 

I still see the SEA Games as a saving grace because it’s almost impossible for us to lose this tourney and it could be a good swan song for Andray Blatche and Gabe Norwood. Besides, what we need to get is confidence and what better way to get it than going “Serbia” on other people.

Hopefully the Olympic qualifiers would start and end positively. I know, it’s hard to picture this now but if we get a mentor with a better understanding in international gameplay, players who are willing to give it all for the sake of flag and country and fans that would believe again to the cause, then perhaps… maybe we can get out of this slump.

So there, did I miss anything out?

END

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