Gilas Pilipinas ended their 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign the same way they started it: with an overtime game. The result, however, was different this time around as they beat Senegal, 81–79.
The win was extra sweet after an unpleasant encounter Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan and company had in Seville:
Pangilinan, the source said, was walking the streets of this charming, laid-back capital of Andalucia in the company of PLDT president and CEO Polly Nazareno, Meralco CEO and president Oscar Reyes, and Meralco vice president and MVP Sports Foundation head Al Panlilio when they came across a group gathered in a roadside eatery.Burn.
"Go home," came the taunt.
The MVP camp, the insider said, didn't recognize anyone from the group but was certain they were members of the Senegalese delegation, judging from the colors that they wore as well as IDs that are only issued by Fiba to officials of each competing nation.
Pangilinan, the source said, felt insulted by the taunt but still kept his cool.
However, Reyes picked up the cudgels for the group, not letting the taunt go unanswered. "We'll go home after we beat you," came Reyes' calm but emphatic response.
Gilas placed last in their six-nation Group with a 1–4 record, but at least they won't be leaving Spain empty-handed.
|The captain feels the love.|
[Photo credit: FIBA.com]
It has been over 40 years since the last time the Philippines won a game at this level of international competition, an 87–86 victory over the Central African Republic on 12 July 1974 in the classification round of the World Championship for Men held in Puerto Rico, and nearly 36 years since it last qualified.
Gilas' road to the next Basketball Word Cup in 2019 and/or the 2016 Summer Olympics lies ahead, but first, there's the 2014 Asian Games basketball tournament that starts in just over 2 weeks in Incheon, South Korea.