I’ve been told time and again by proponents of other sports that basketball is not for Filipinos. We’re small. Basketball is a big man’s game. We’ll never amount to anything good so we should just save our time, effort, and money for some other sport.
What those people do not understand is that even if we’re small, we’re smart. Sure, we play at a disadvantage every single time we step into the court but that adds to the fun. Seeing Jayson Castro outsmart his much taller defenders to get a shot up is a minor miracle yet it happened so many times. Watching Marc Pingris grab rebounds he had absolutely no business grabbing was nothing short of amazing.
I’ve also been told that naturalizing Andray Blatche was a horrible idea. Those old men from down south exclaimed to the high heavens that making Blatche a Filipino is stupid “kasi hindi rin naman tayo mananalo kahit nandiyan siya.”
When I saw him pound his heart during the fourth quarter, I realized that he was Filipino not just on paper.
But again sometimes, fate would poke us a little more, like we’re not dealing enough, like Croatia’s five inch average height advantage wasn’t big enough. Fate tested us in the second quarter as Blatche injured his knee.
Instead of quitting, we actually fought back. Without the only man who’s not a match-up disadvantage against Croatia, Gilas actually ended the second quarter only down by six.
We lost in overtime. Yes. But it almost doesn’t matter. What we saw, what we witnessed together as a nation felt like a victory. Jeff Chan was a few inches away from winning the game in regulation. We were a weird technical foul away from not even needing Chan’s game winner. We were a whistle away from Castro getting three free throws that could have sent the game into a second overtime.
The Filipinos went back to their hotel knowing that for a few momentes, we made the Croatians doubt themselves, even with their big size advantage. For a few instances in that game, these giants of men doubted if they could beat us.
Love is often used to describe the Philippines’ relationship with basketball and it’s completely true. We love the sport. We’ll do anything for it. We love it so much even if it doesn’t always love us back. We love it even more even if it has hurt us so many times before.
Ganyan tayong Pilipino e. Martir pag nagmahal. Kahit masakit. Kahit walang pag-asa. Kahit halos hindi na tama.
If we competed in diving or football or weight lifting, sports where there are weight division and sports where height is not that big a factor, we could really compete at a much higher level.
But, with apologies to other sports, Filipinos have already selected a sport to love. It is basketball, for now and for the foreseeable future. We might win more in other sports but only basketball can make us celebrate a loss like it was a win.
I’ll never forget the pride I felt after seeing the picture of the Batang Gilas Under-16 team celebrating after losing to powerhouse China in the finals of the FIBA Asia Championship.
I’ll also never forget how Gilas scowled at the referee after losing to Croatia because it made me realize that we were not just there to hang around and not lose badly. We actually realized we could win.
I completely accept the idea that Filipinos are physically not suited for the sport of basketball. It’s true. But like how we Filipinos love, it really doesn’t matter if it’s a good fit or not. Martir e. We made the choice and we’re sticking with it.
After watching Gilas battle Croatia until the final moments of the game, I think finally understood why we Filipinos are small.
See, the basketball gods are fair. With the hoops fire burning deep inside every Filipino basketball fan and player, it would be unfair to countries such as Croatia if we stood as tall as them.
Kung tayo matangkad pa, kawawa naman sila.
- Carlo Pamintuan
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Di ko alam kung paano sisimulan. Masyado pang malakas ang tibok ng puso ko para maisulat ko ang deskripsyon ng tindi ng emosyon na nararamdaman ko sa ngayon. Actually halo-halong emosyon. Di ko alam kung mas nangingibabaw ba ang galit o yung lungkot sa dibdib ko. Pero isa lang ang alam ko, galit talaga ako.
Alam ko mali talaga ako at nagpapasalamat ako na nandyan kayo nakasuporta sakin sa lahat ng pagkakataon lalo na ngayon. Nagkamali ako at salamat binigyan niyo ulit ako ng pangalawang pagkakataon na magsimula ulit kahit gusto ko na talaga sumuko. I should be over it, but im not. Hindi pa din kaya. Even after all this time it still haunts me everyday. Gabi-gabi akong hindi makatulog. Gusto kong kalimutan ang lahat pero sa tuwing isasantabi ko mas nagpupumilit sya sa utak ko. Para akong mababaliw.
How will you forget a part of your life that at some point it crushed you into pieces but keeps on running in your head? Minsan hiniling ko na nagkaamnesia na lang sana ako para di ko maranasan yung nararanasan ko ngayon. Pero kailangan ko talagang maranasan to para matuto ako at para makabawi man lang ako sa second chance na binigay sakin.
At some point, may mga tao kang pinagkakatiwalaan. Sila yung pamilya mo. Sila yung mga tao na mas makakaunawa sayo kapag naliligaw ka at di mo alam kung saan ka pupunta. Pamilya naman talaga ang unang takbuhan kapag may problema. Sila yung unang tutulong sayo. The big question is, paano kung nasira yung tiwala mo? Yung feeling mo na ginawa kang tanga. Mga mga bagay bagay kasi minsan na kailangang manatili lang sa pamilya diba? Wala namang debate eh basta hindi makasisira sa isang parte ng pamilya.
Hindi ko alam kung paano pa ko haharap. Wala na kong matakbuhan. Gusto ko sanang pumunta sa lugar yun na kung saan gusto kong matahimik. Yung makakapag-isip ako ng maayos pero wala na ring pag-asa yung lugar na yun. Kumalat na kasi yung apoy.
Ang masasabi ko lang, sana nabigyan ko sila ng kasiyahan.