Winners of 2019 FIBA World Cup basketballs
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2019 - 12:00am

We announced a “blitz” contest to win 10 Molten 2019 FIBA World Cup basketballs last Sunday and set a deadline of 5 p.m. the next day for entries. Thousands of entries poured in from different parts of the country and even abroad. There were senders from Singapore, US and Dubai and Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Bulacan, Pangasinan, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Laguna, Baguio, Cavite, Zambales and many more.

Each entry had the correct answers to our three questions – Nic Jorge was the Philippine national basketball team coach when Manila hosted the 1978 FIBA World Cup; C. J. Perez and Robert Bolick are the PBA rookies who made it to Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao’s 19-man training pool for the 2019 FIBA World Cup and the two NBA teams that Gilas center Andray Blatche played for were the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets. The difference maker was the essay that each sender had to submit. We put a limit of three sentences so entries that went beyond were automatically disqualified.

It was difficult to choose the 10 winners. On the whole, the essays were well-written and insightful. Here are the five winners of the Molten composite leather World Cup basketball:

• Norman Morte, 47, employee from Marikina. Essay: “Perhaps, there’s nothing more significant in Team Gilas’ participation in the FIBA World Cup than proving to all the millions of basketball fans that with sheer grit, determination, talent and the Filipino heart, we deserve our FIBA ranking as top 31 in the world and top four in our zone. Unlike our FIBA World Cup 2014 participation, wherein Gilas had the benefit of more preparation time, coach Yeng and our boys are all out to show and prove this time that even with all the obstacles (eg: brawl with the Australian team, suspensions of players, injuries, conflicts with PBA sked, Kiefer ban, etc.) that came along their way, the team could overcome all the odds and still compete with the best of the best. Something to draw inspiration from is the challenge to prove all the skeptics wrong and to make it known to the world that Gilas has the fighting heart, ready to shock the world.”

• Jerome Arzadon, 20, 5th year, Civil Engineering, UST from Pasig City. Essay: “It is important for the Philippines to play at the 2019 FIBA World Cup because it serves as a gauge of where we are now and what we need to improve in playing high-level basketball since we are also preparing to host the 2023 FIBA World Cup. The entry of our country in the tournament for the second time in a row is also an encouragement that despite our lack of height and experience, we can consistently compete and go head-to-head with other teams. Our participation will inspire many Filipinos to continue to play basketball with heart and passion and keep dreaming that someday, they can also represent our country at the international stage.”

• Jason Ello, 44, OFW, Dubai from Pasig City. Essay: “In Filipino basketball parlance, ball is life. Whether you’re a Pinoy seasoned pro, semi-pro, amateur, an after-office or weekend baller (like myself), a young kid in slippers playing in paved or unpaved makeshift courts, or just a rabid supporter of your favorite basketball player or team, you believe in Gilas Pilipinas and are hopeful that, despite the odds and very obvious superior competition from the other qualifiers, they can create the same magic or even better than the one they did at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Win or lose, Gilas competing in this World Cup represents the very essence of each and every Filipino’s dream which is to be given the chance to compete at the global stage – just like what I and 10 million plus other OFWs around the world are pursuing.”

• Jason Francis Mangonon, 22, hotel and casino employee, Menifee, California. Essay: “Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the FIBA World Cup is a testament to the Filipinos’ passion for basketball. It will also be a huge boost to our quest to regain basketball supremacy in Asia. This is aside from continuing to show the world that Filipinos are still among the best to play basketball, a sport that continues to grow globally.”

• Mark Angelo Manez, 30, writer, Dugout Philippines from Tondo. Essay: “Para sa Pilipinas, ang muling pagsabak ng pambansang kuponan sa darating na 2019 FIBA World Cup as isa muling patunay na handang makipagsabayan ang basketbolistang Pilipino sa mga malalaki at bigating kuponang kalahok dito. Bagama’t kulang sa oras at panahon upang paghandaan ito, hindi ito magsisilbing hadlang, bagkus, ito ang magiging pangunahing sandata upang muling mapagbuklod ang samabayanang Pilipinong taos-pusong nagmamahal sa larong basketbol.”

The five winners of the rubber 2019 FIBA World Cup basketball are:

• Luis Antonio, 72, retired employee, Valenzuela City.

• Rae Coleen Abgulos, 18, Grade 12, UST, Sampaloc.

• Nico Waje, 24, newswriter, Kamuning, Quezon City.

• Miguel Yazon, 21, College of St. Benilde, Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

• Mariam Miles Cabreros, call center representative, Rodriguez, Rizal.

Winners will be contacted by phone for details on where and when to claim their prizes.

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