August 6, 2013
David and Goliath
You know what happened. A smaller David beating a bigger, scarier Goliath by a stone and a sling shot. Classic underdog story.
But we’re not going to talk about this but something else, which is about a David named Gary. Yes, basketball’s Mr. Pure Energy himself. El Granada to some. The Grenade Launcher to my neighbors. Gary Granada to Mico Halili. Simple Gary David to me.
David may not be the most liked member of the Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 coached by Chot Reyes. They’re the country’s Dirty Dozen playing for our nation in the 27th FIBA-Asia Championship at the MOA Arena in Pasay City and seeking one of the three berths in the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Spain. Perhaps because he hasn’t made the shots he used to effortlessly make before. To put it simply, Gary David isn’t playing as…yes, Gary David.
That is bizarre for someone in David’s caliber.
But here are the so called “experts” criticizing the poor guy just because, in five games now, David has played from bad to atrocious. Oh yes, including that painful loss at the hands of Chinese Taipei. One of the countries that are bullying us, together with our countrymen bleeding to earn honest money, in well-documented territorial disputes.
Its a loss worse than death.
People though easily forget.
The former PBL MVP, three-time PBA All-Star, three-time PBA scoring champion and two-time PBA Mythical First Team member was part of the Phl team that won the 2003 Southeast Asian Games gold medal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can ask fellow Gilas boys Ranidel de Ocampo and the Pinoy Sakuragi, Marc Pingris, about it and they will tell you David was there, bleeding as everyone else for flag and country.
David got another call last year for one more tour of duty, perhaps his last, with the national squad and accepted it with open arms not thinking of the risk of getting injured and wasting what will be his final years as a pro.
And we bash the poor fellow.
In last year’s William Jones Cup, the year before those fools decided not to invite us any more, David keyed some crucial victories for Gilas, which eventually ended up topping the annual event for the country’s first international victory in the sport in decades. Remember his two crucial baskets in the win over South Korea? And the day when he sparked a run with a booming triple in a come-from-behind win against Japan? Or the win that he starred in against a formidable Asian powerhouse in Iran? What about Gilas’ 76-75 squeaker of a win over a USA select team in the Jones Cup finale? David was the anchor in those wins, in case it slipped your mind.
But we have too many experts in our country who used David as the main target of the post-loss finger-pointing.
Thankfully, there are some reasonable people left on this part of the universe. Those who keep the faith for a player like Gary David. The Gary David with two knees that had been operated on after tearing both his ACLs (anterior cruciate ligament). The Gary David that has epitomized the very essence of being Filipino–persevering until the end amid the adversity.
So if you see Gary David, don’t be his Goliath. Look at his name on the back of his white and blue jersey that has David written at the back. It means Filipinos. You and I. Or look at the front, it reads Pilipinas. Our beloved nation.
(Photos by Nuki Sabio, Paul Ryan Tan and Pilipinas Basketball)