Ex-national cager, PBA legend Adornado saddened by Gilas pullouts

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (Philstar.com) - August 17, 2015 - 3:14am

MANILA, Philippines – With all the withdrawals from Gilas Pilipinas, longtime national mainstay Bogs Adornado can’t help but recall their time when wearing the national colors is a badge of honor.

“I’m sad and I wonder what’s happening now,” Adornado told The STAR, referring to Gilas players who turned their back on the national team that’s embarking on a quest for a possible berth in the Olympics next year.

“I respect the players’ decisions, but I wonder why,” Adornado also said. “Why, because during our time, we would fight and die to make the national team. Every player’s dream then was to wear the national colors.”

He said the sacrifice the national players do now is nothing compared to what they did before.

“The tryout then was almost a year. Just the tryout was a cutthroat competition. Those who made it were put in quarters for six months, allowed to visit their families just on weekends. And mind you, our allowance was just P20 per practice,” said Adornado, the top gun of the Philippine team in the 1973 ABC Championship and in the 1974 World Championship.

“There was no salary and no incentive. When we won the championship (in the 1973 ABC Championship), our incentive was to go to the World Championship,” he also said.

“We made great sacrifice but nobody complained. The only complaint made was on the tough training (run by trainer Juan Cutillas). Later on, we reaped the fruit of those hard training. I think we could’ve played two hard games in a day,” he added.

Adornado believes his contemporaries like Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, Jimmy Mariano, Manny Paner and Yoyong Martirez, among others, feel the same way.

“For us, it’s always a great honor to be with the national team. And as a player, that’s the only way to serve our country,” Adornado pointed out.

Still, Adornado insisted he still admires Junmar Fajardo, Marc Pingris and LA Tenorio as players.

Fajardo is said to be nursing injuries on both feet. Tenorio begged off, citing fatigue and poor form as reasons while Pingris excused himself because of “things beyond my control.”

Netizens believe San Miguel Corp. has something to do with these excuses, but SMC officials insist they have allowed the three players to join the national team.

With Fajardo, Pingris and Tenorio out, SMC isn’t represented in the national team for the first time since the PBA allowed the use of their players in international competition in 1990.

Fernandez, Samboy Lim, Yves Dignadice and Hector Calma were San Miguel players in the silver medal-winning Phl team in the Beijing Asian Games.

For winning the PBA All-Filipino tourney in 1994, the Norman Black-mentored San Miguel squad formed the core of the national team to the Hiroshima Asian Games.

In the next Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998, Caidic and Olsen Racela were SMB players in the Phl team roster.

Jong Uichico and Chot Reyes were coaches with the SMC Group when they took their turns to handle the Phl team in 2002 and 2007, respectively.

And San Miguel had players loaned to the national team up to the World Cup in Spain and in the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea last year.

A big wonder was the withdrawal of all SMC players in the national team now.

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