June 6, 2013
Made in Taiwan 2.0
Somewhere in Paranaque, as I watch Azkals stars Phil and James Younghusband help five British trainers and coaches from the Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club teach fortunate kids on how to train and play the Chelsea way, my thoughts are some place else. I was thinking of the historic Manila Hotel, from where the drawing of lots for groupings of the FIBA-Asia Championship was being done.
Unless you’re hiding in a cave somewhere in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, or at the peak of Mount Apo in Davao, the highest mountain in the country, or merely hiding yourself from the outside world doing whatever you’re doing, you probably know by now that the Philippines, that’s us, has chosen Group A as its bracket where we will be grouped with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and, guess who? Our best friend, Taiwan.
Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 coach Chot Reyes, who is currently in Lithuania along with our guys, said the reason he chose Group A is for us to have a chance of avoiding powerhouse China and Korea in the playoff round, which is a plausible reason. That is, of course, assuming of course that we finish No. 1 or No. 2.
And Sportsmaryosep agrees that we should be in Group A. And for five reasons. 1. Taiwan. 2. Taiwan. 3. Taiwan. 4. Taiwan and 5. Taiwan.
You see, if you’re memory is short, Jones Cup organizers decided to “un-invite” us, depriving our Gilas 2.0 boys from defending the tile we won last year. Yes, we whipped their asses when we reigned supreme over there a year back. Without it, Reyes will have to find a replacement tournament in a hurry after the Lithuania trip.
But we’re not taking it against Taiwan. Despite the fact that some of our countrymen reportedly got maltreated, worse beaten in some place there. Or the fact that their fishermen who were unfortunately killed in the sad incident were the ones trespassing our waters, not us. Even if they our President got disrespected by not accepting our official apology. We will not take it against them.
In fact, we will heed the advice of FIBA-Asia secretary-general Hagop Khajirian who was quoted in saying at Interaktv.com to set aside the two countries’ differences and play the games like ambassadors. Here’s his exact words: “We play basketball. There’s no place for race, gender and politics here,” he says. Don’t worry Mr. Hagop, we will do that. Oh, is it you the same Hagop that made life difficult for us by not allowing our very own original Gilas boys Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz to play in the early part of the FIBA-Asia meet in Wuhan, China two years ago? And you’re saying this to us? Of all people? Amazing guy.
But unlike you Mr. Hagop, we will be cool and fair. We will treat Taiwan’s basketball team and the rest of the participating countries with all the hospitality we Filipinos are known for. Heck, we’re rolling out the red carpet for all of you and treat you like kings and celebrities. That’s a promise we will keep. Heck, I will even wash your clothes and carry all your bags for all I care.
But let me tell you this: All courtesies we promised you, however, will extend only as far as outside the synthetic wooden court of the MOA Arena because inside it, GILAS 2.0 WILL NOT SHOW MERCY. This is another promise. And I will be there to watch it. Myself and the rest of of the Filipinos who are praying for the safety of our Kababayans working honestly in your country. I will cherish it. Each and every moment while our boys MANHANDLE and ANNIHILATE yours. A pure, true-blue basketball beating made ONLY in the Philippines straight from our grieving hearts. It’s our form of reprisal, we peace-loving Filipinos. Handmade from the tears, blood, and fear you sow in our countrymen there. It’s our way of saying that, unlike you, we vent our anger INSIDE THE BASKETBALL COURT, NOT OUTSIDE IT!
Sportsmaryosep is on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photo courtesy of Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0)