The Arena, San Juan City
September 29, 2014
Game of the Generals
I have cried watching a basketball game before.
I have cried when our National basketball team coached by Robert “Sonny” Jaworski, Sr. lost by 60 points to China in the 1990 Beijing Asian Games where we end up bringing home a silver medal.
I have cried when Lee Sang Min buried us with that triple in a semifinal game of the 2002 Asiad in Busan.
I have cried when a Rajko Toroman-mentored Gilas Pilipinas squad beat Iran in the Jones Cup a few years back.
I have cried when our Gilas squad, now coached by Chot Reyes, took the silver by downing old rival Korea, thus ending the curse.
I have cried when our Batang Gilas team, Gilas’ junior team, copped the silver in the FIBA-Asia Under-16 in Iran last year to qualify in the FIBA U-17 World Championship in Dubai last August.
I have cried when one by one we stared the world’s best eye to eye with a win versus Giorgiu Dieng and Senegal and performances to remember against Croatia, Argentina, Puerto Rico and heck, even Greece.
I have cried when our Gilas team lost a won game against Iran in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
I have cried when our beloved players dropped another heartbreaker with a familiar nemesis, Korea.
I have cried when a chance to make the semifinals of this same Incheon tilt slipped from our grasps after our once mighty 18-point lead vanished in thin air in an effort to forget versus Kazakhstan.
But never did I cry for some team or something in a college basketball game.
Until I watched these brave five Emilio Aguinaldo College players face off with the complete San Sebastian Stags today, Sept. 29, here. How can we not cheer for these guys? They’re only five. A by-product of the suspension handed out by the NCAA in the aftermath of the free-for-all that happened in the Generals’ non-bearing game against the Mapua Cardinals on that fateful Monday evening, Sept. 22. They eventually lost to the Stags by stratospheric figure.
But not to me. Because deep in my heart they won. Just for showing up. They could have forfeited or defaulted their second game in a row. But they don’t. These five–Christ Mejos, Ai Indin, Jerald Serrano, Jozhua General and Faustine Pascual–wore their uniform, showed and play the game. And that is how the game should be played.
Even against overwhelming odds.
And I cried again.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar