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Sports

Stop Raining on Our Parade

Pio Garcia - The Philippine Star

It was a triumph last Saturday night, never mind if we lost the following day.

For 11 years, I lived with the heartache named Busan. For 11 years, I almost gave up hope for our National team. Aside from that, what hurt the most was our FIBA suspension due to our sporting officials choosing to politick rather than do their jobs. I saw no light at the tunnel’s end.

No one was willing to pick us up off the floor. Until MVP came and spearheaded the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to wrench control from the Basketball Association of the Philippines, which still clings to whatever hope they have to get it back.

We haven’t looked back ever since.

We won’t win outright, yes, but we’re getting progress. We missed a podium finish the last time, and now, here we are, second place, with a ticket to the Worlds, to Spain. We beat Korea in the process and I was screaming deliriously and was even brought to tears and to my knees. God has answered a prayer. Never in my lifetime, I imagined after that crushing loss in Busan, South Korea and in Wuhan, China, would I see the Philippines’ National team step even in the world stage.

The only memory I have of us being a powerhouse was in my old baul of clippings that had Caloy Loyzaga all over it. The rest? Perennial underachievers. No slight intended, but that’s just the way it was, plus a couple of unlucky streaks here and there. Remember Danny Siegle’s injury? Siegle was supposed to be the best swingman in Asia. Even better than Iran’s Nikkah Bahrami and second to Lebanon’s Fadi El Khatib. It’s stupid looking back, but hey, if those didn’t happen, then we wouldn’t be savoring this one like we already won the World Championships.

But that aside, as Gilas finally beat the ghost of Wuhan, it came to my attention, Ronnie Nathanielsz’s tweet. It read:

Really? We already won and you have to take a shot outright? Mr. Nathanielsz, if you don’t know, a lot do not like you. I bet you don’t care either. But I sincerely hope that someone big enough would dislodge you from this place and send you back to Sri Lanka where you belong. We don’t want you raining on OUR parade.

Go home old man, go back to where you came from.

And another thing, those who keep saying “All Filipino!”? Spare me. I may have resorted to calling Iranians as shawarmas but that was just out of frustration with stupid calls. But being proud of the team just because Douthit wasn’t able to contribute well against Korea? Really?

You don’t see football fans like the Germans saying “it should’ve been all German on our national team.” For crying out loud, that’s a boat load of naturalized players wearing their colors spearheaded by Spanish Mario Gomez. Look at Spain’s basketball team, they have Serge Ibaka, a citizen of Congo originally. Or again, Germany, with Chris Kaman on board. You don’t hear them muttering under their breaths. So why do we do it with our own? Care to enlighten me?

Anyone who puts on that jersey with PILIPINAS on the chest is as much a Filipino as we are, those who are born with the blood in our veins. Don’t single out “naturalized siya eh.” That’s ugly. You tell that to the guy straight up and I wonder. He willingly became a citizen of the country. Ask him where home is and he won’t even blink in telling you it’s the Philippines.

Yes, he is an import, but he has PINOY written all over his heart.

This is a monumental win for us, for the country, much bigger than Manny Pacquiao winning his fight. This is basketball. This is the sport that we truly love even if we aren’t gifted with the height for it.

Stop raining on OUR parade.

ALL FILIPINO BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES BUSAN BUT I CALOY LOYZAGA CHRIS KAMAN FADI EL KHATIB FRED UYTENGSU RONNIE NATHANIELSZ
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