FIBA World Cup 2014 (Argentina vs Pilipinas, W-L)
For a teenage girl, being heartbroken at 1am is somehow a bit normal. But for a teenage girl who is a basketball fan, having your heart broken at this time is pretty much the definition of rare.
11:30pm, Philippine time, the battle between Argentina and Pilipinas began in Seville, Spain at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Family and friends, and supporters and die-hard fans went all out wearing face paints and bringing with them not only their team’s flags and placards but also their heartfelt devotion and faith.
The referee whistled, signaling the start of the game and the players ran to and fro the court aiming to contribute to their team’s scoring. As the clocked ticked, the game intensed. Shots were made, fouls were called, and sweat dripped on the players game faces.
As a fan, you don’t only share the tension and momentum with your idols on the court but also their dream that after forty-eight minutes of good and honest basketball, you’d be blessed with a win. But along with every dream or goal everyone have had, it wasn’t that easy to achieve that.
The Argentina players weren’t just tall. They were giants compared to our own. But even so, we managed to exhaust them all making them worn out, challenged, and possibly worried that we may actually be able to win against a tall and shooter team like them. Witnessing the game, winning was almost assured.
As the Gilas players alternately took a chance in the bucket, the crowd, obviously ecstatic and proud, roared. Making their presence known to the obviously-home-advantaged Argentinians. And boy was that a beautiful sight. Even in those times when the Gilas players failed to make a basket, it was obvious that the fans were enjoying themselves. Not really bothered that the team might lose but were just plain proud and honored because after 36 years, Philippines finally managed to appear again on the FIBA World Cup. And that is one very honorable fact.
In every game, there has to be only one winner and a loser. And Marc’s heart and will, Blatche’s jumpers, Jason’s defense, Gabe’s dunks, LA’s energy and drive, Ranidel’s twos and Jimmy’s threes were apparently not enough to hand us the win but were surely enough to bring us at the top with pride and utmost respect. Great does not even begin to describe how well they did on the court. They weren’t the same PBA players we used to see on Araneta Coliseum or Cuneta Astrodome. They became a whole new versions of themselves - better, bolder, stronger.
Seeing them all huddled up in a group, right after their loss was made known, while talking to themselfes and saying their thanks to the Lord was priceless. Truly, win or lose, Filipinos never forget to pray. United they stood in their blue jerseys holding in each others arms those of their teammates as if to silently say that they got each other’s backs. That is what I admire most about these men - the camaraderie and heart. Because even though they may have come from different teams in the national league, out there, representing the country, and outside the court, they are friends.
Kudos to the Gilas team!! It’s a very heartbreaking loss indeed because it wasn’t supposed to be one but nonetheless, we have yet again proven our worth in the world. You showed them why small is terrible, why height is not always might. We may have lost now but we still have two more to go so don’t give up just yet. God has plans.