Gilas' homegrown 'bigs' step up in Douthit's absence
By Aldo Avinante Updated Sunday August 11, 2013 - 1:33am

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes (left) with Ranidel de Ocampo (second from right) and Marc Pingris (first from right) all break down in an emotional post-game presscon after beating Korea, 87-76, in the semifinal round to enter the finals of the FIBA Asia Championship and more importantly, assure themselves of a spot in the FIBA World Cup in Spain next year. Alder Almo

MANILA, Philippines - Undersized in terms of height but their big hearts proved to be their might.  

Marc Pingris and Ranidel De Ocampo are considered small for their position in the international game but when the anchor of the Philippine team Marcus Douthit suffered an ill-fated injury in the second quarter, both players listed at 6'4 stood their ground and held down the fort for Gilas Pilipinas.

Pingris and De Ocampo combined for 27 points and 16 boards in an emphatic display of determination and will to play beyond their limitations and helped Gilas Pilipinas take a 38-27 advantage in rebounding department despite the absence of prized naturalized import Douthit.

"Tinatanong namin kung makakabalik pa si Marcus pero walang makasagot at wala din siya sa bench," said De Ocampo in an emotional postgame press conference. "Dun na talaga lumabas yung pride natin bilang mga Pilipino na ipaglalaban ang bansa natin kahit ano mangyari."

It was all worth the pain. It was all worth the wait.

"I don't know why anyone would want this job. We all cried in 2007 when we lost and now that we won we're still crying," said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes in a euphoric atmosphere at the MOA Arena after the emotional victory that earned the country a ticket to the FIBA World Cup in Madrid, Spain next year.

And what made the victory sweeter was they did it against perennial tormentor South Korea.

"Sa lahat po ng sumusuporta sa amin, sa mga nagdasal na mga Pilipino kayo ang nagbibigay ng lakas sa amin katulad nga ng sinabi ni coach, puso lang talaga, puso lang talaga," said Pingris, taking several pauses to gather himself in an emotional moment for the forward who had his tournament-best 16 points and 10 rebounds.

"Ginagawa namin lahat ng ito para sa bayan.  Sobrang laki ng sakripisyo namin, sa PBA may sweldo kami, dito wala pero magpapakamatay talaga kami para manalo," he added.

For De Ocampo, who have won five PBA championships with Talk n Text, what they have achieved on Saturday night, was so special and incomparable to anything they have accomplished in their career.

"Sama-sama tayo.  Nagawa po natin lahat ito," said a teary-eyed De Ocampo.  "Nung nag-champion ako sa Talk N Text umiyak ako pero hindi katulad nito, sobrang hirap po ng sakripisyo namin para sa Gilas Pilipinas."

They have all the reasons to cry unabashedly. 

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Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ MOA Arena
5:45 PM - Semifinal Round
Iran vs Chinese Taipei
8:00 PM - Semifinal Round
Philippines vs Korea