Malacañang has called on Filipinos to keep the faith as the Philippine national basketball team still has a chance to make it to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIBA World Cup Basketball Championship in Spain.
Presidential Communi-cations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Tuesday said that President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself is “highly interested and supportive” of Gilas Pilipinas—the team’s official name.
“Ito po ang panawagan natin: Patuloy nating suportahan ang kampanya ng koponang Gilas Pilipinas sa 2014 FIBA World Cup Basketball Championship [This is our appeal: Let us continue to support the campaign of the Gilas Pilipinas team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup Basketball Championship],” Coloma said in a press conference.
Coloma made the statements following Gilas’ close fight early Tuesday against Argentina (ranked third in the world), which the Filipinos lost, 81-78.
Gilas also suffered a heartbreaking overtime 85-81 loss in the hands of Croatia (ranked 16th).
The national team was also defeated with a huge margin by Greece (ranked fifth), 82-70, but Coloma believes the Filipino players’ performance in this game was not disgraceful.
“Tunay na kahanga-hanga ang ipinapakitang husay at tapang ng mga manlalarong Pilipino bagamat kalaban nila ay higit na malaki at matangkad na mga manlalaro [The skill and courage shown by the Filipino players despite their bigger and taller opponents are truly admirable],” he said.
Coloma reminded Filipinos that if Gilas wins their last two games, “our team still has a chance to be part of the four teams from Group B to advance to the next stage of competition” or Round of 16.
The Filipinos will face Puerto Rico, which has also yet to win after three games, on Wednesday in a tiff crucial to their hopes of advancing to the next round. Gilas Pilipinas takes on Senegal on Thursday to cap off the group stages.
With its silver-medal finish in the FIBA Asia Championship in 2013, the Philippines returned to the basketball world stage after about four decades.
President Aquino said that the international tilt is a great opportunity for Gilas to show the unyielding character of Filipinos.