• The sad saga of PH basketball

    Peter Cariño

    Conrad M. Cariño

    (Third of four parts)

    The first two parts of this column-series got a number of very good reactions from readers who I believe know the history of Philippine basketball. And most of them agree with the points I raised in the first two parts of this four-part series of Philippine basketball’s sad saga.

    Most of the comments were lengthy, but I will get excerpts of views or comments that I did not make in the first two parts of this four-part column-series.

    For the first part of this column published on September 24, EDMsquare said “We need to form a national team from scratch that we can mold into fighting unit. But this is easier said than done. In short, the current program will not last very long.”

    Well, I agree the current practice of getting players temporarily from the pro league won’t work over the long term. And if that arrangement worked, then we could have gotten at least a bronze in the Asian Games.

    Joe burgos, meanwhile, commented that Gilas Pilipinas still performed well despite the odds. “Filipinos are excellent basketball players but they are just too short to compete against taller American, European, South American and African teams. In my book, they did well.”

    A certain Harry believes basketball is not for Filipinos and that we should excel in other sports. He says: “Put the basket on the floor and allow you to kick it then you may have more of a chance [so that becomes football, then]. Look at Messi, 5’6? and Maradona the best players ever and you have a chance.”

    Well, the Askals national football team has been showing that Filipinos can excel in that sport, and even won some international matches.

    The second part of the four-part series published on October 2, which discussed the relevance of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to the country’s quest for international cage glory also got mostly lengthy comments.

    Temyo said that there is nothing wrong if Filipinos love basketball and even favored an all-Filipino lineup for international meets.

    “My point is let’s enjoy Filipino basketball and let’s put energy and money on something that’s achievable,” he said.

    I absolutely agree that more support and funding should also be given to other sports where Filipinos can excel, even if many of countrymen enjoy basketball immensely.

    Ed Peñalosa, meanwhile, commented that the Northern Cement Corp. (NCC) team actually had “token Pinoy” as its members since it was bannered by Americans.

    “That’s why they were successful. You can’t do that today,” he said. I agree, because the backlash from having up to three “naturalized players” in the national team won’t look good.

    Warlaw, however, had very stinging comments: “There was also that bunch of idiots Filipino coaches association who prohibit Ron Jacobs from coaching in the PBA league and the national team. I think Ron is more Filipino than this bunch of idiots. What a shame.”

    Hey warlaw, I do agree that Jacobs has done a lot for the country’s quest for international basketball glory in the past 30 to 40 years. I hope we can find someone like him again.

    Voice from the Wilderness believes the PBA makes top college players eye a professional career than representing the flag.

    “Good players in the amateur ranks coming from collegiate leagues have their moist eyes glued towards playing in the PBA as their careers.” he said, adding that the NCC model won’t work today.

    “Perhaps a solution here is to offer a recruited player a 20 million pesos insurance in case they suffer a career ending injury,” he said. Well, there lies the problem—what if an amateur player decides to play for the flag but gets injured. For sure, no PBA team would gamble on him. Tsk tsk.

    But Bert O. Romero perhaps had the most stinging comment, particularly for those who keep on saying that Gilas Pilipinas had “heart.”

    “Basketball is not simply a matter of ‘puso.’ Gilas didn’t have a monopoly of it. All these other international teams are as nationalistic if not more so as Gilas,” he said.

    Well, I am very sure that Filipino athletes in other disciplines also have “heart” and can win medals in events that do not have a height bias. I will discuss that in the fourth part of this column-series.


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    1. The problem with Philippine basketball is in the coach. And coach/es of any sports and of any nationality is not prohibited or banned in any national team (unlike naturalized player/s). Why not hire as many brilliant coaches in the international market. We want the best. Coaches picks/chooses good players, motivates ( as if he is ready to die for his coach), leads, study an opponents and would be opponents, and experienced enough to know what winning basketball game is all about.about. That’s why players win games and coach losses it.. I reiterate my suggestions to the PBA to make it more exciting. I call it “The Three Quarters Rule”. In the first 3 quarters, a slam dunk is a 3 points and a missed free throw will be deducted from the teams score.

    2. Rocky Coronel on

      Why can’t we just be contented with our local tournaments, PBA, PBL, UAAP, NCAA? Can’t we admit that our size is not for this sport? We keep on trying, spending money only to ed up miserable, fooling ourselves that qualifying in the FIBA is gratifying even if we only posted a win. Our debacle in the Asian Games broke the hearts of most Filipinos because we are made to believe that we could be world class in this event.

    3. Well you know they have a good P/S guard who is half Filipino, stands 6’5″, can penetrate and have a good shooting range. He plays for LA Lakers. He is the answer to the small point guards of the Gilas team, who rely too much on the long range 3’s. I think that he will be the difference provided we have Blanche manning the pivot. There is no sure thing in basketball, that is why they play the game.