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News  


The tests Team Pilipinas has to survive


PhilBoxing.com


Look what the embarrassing players’ fight that marred the Philippine-Australia game early last July had done to the country’s campaign in the on-going Asian Word Cup qualifying tournaments.

Up to and until the eve of Team Pilipinas’ all-important date with Qatar on Monday, national coach Yeng Guiao, as it the problem of lack of preparations weren’t enough, had, for the nth time, reorganized his roster to save the country’s bid to advance to the round from an exercise in futility.


Fleet-footed Stanley Pringle of NorthPort had to take the place of Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel Beer, the team’s most consistent performer in the Filipinos’ fifth place campaign in the last Asian Games up to the opening of the second window of the qualifying against Iran, as a naturalized player.

Matthew Wright of Phoenix Fuel and Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra subbed for an ineffective Alien Maliksi, also of Phoenix and Raymond Almazan of Rain of Shine. Pringle and Wright were to augment speed and shooting, which Maliksi, along with Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter, also of the Beermen, failed contribute against the Iranians.

Aguilar and Wright had just served their one-game suspensions following their involvement in the brawl against the Boomers of Australia.

Meanwhile coach Yeng retained the services of team skipper Gabe Norwood, Scottie Thompson, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, JP Erram, Beau Belga, Asi Tulava and even Cabagnot and Lassiter.

Thompson, Sangalang, Cabagnot and Lasster, were survivors of the insertions made to the Asiad team that saw the exit of three-point artist James Yap and Maverick Ahanmisi, both of RoS.

Whether the reactivation of Pringle and the new additions of Aguilar and Wright served the purpose for which they were taken would have been known on Monday when the Filipinos were supposed to battle the Qataris in a closed door encounter.

The invitation only encounter, also on order of FIBA as an additional aftermath of the brawl that happened in that unfortunate PH-Australia match up.

The incident, condemned by at least the Asian basketball community, if not by the entire sports world, resulted in the suspension of 10 Filipino players plus two of their coaches and a trio of Australian Boomers.

And to a larger scale, it sent in disarray the Philippines’ participation in the recently concluded Indonesia Asiad and in the present Asia World Cup qualifiers.

First, the local basketball governing body Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, in an ill advised move it hardly explained, withdrew the country’s participation from the Asian Games basketball competition two weeks before the quadrennial meet’s opening in Jakarta only to change heart response to a strong public demand a week later.

Guiao was appointed as coach, who hurriedly and hastily formed a team, thanks the Rain or Shine management which volunteered the nucleus of its PBA team to the national squad filled with talents but bereft with the best in the pro-league, which, at that time was in the finals if the Commissioner’s Cup.

It was an uphill climb for Guiao and his gallant men who won three of their assignments and losing only twice – to eventual champion China by mere two points and Korea by nine on the way to a decent fifth place finish sans an import.

What this article is trying to point out is, despite all this, what has surfaced in the series of experience is that the Philippines is still capable of recapturing the glory days it enjoyed in the past in the sport we Filipinos love most if only we field teams sufficiently prepared in future international commitments made up of players driven by pure love for country and flag like what Guiao and his boys have shown.

And would have displayed, too, against the Qataris.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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