15th among 16

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By Henry G. Doble

Take Two

Monday, August 18, 2014



FINISHING one step from the bottom, Batang Gilas evaded a shutout with a 115-51 win over United Arab Emirates in the Fiba 17U in Dubai. The select group, mostly from UAAP junior teams, looked so happy after the game just like Mommy Dionisia after divulging her boyfrieThe national team looked short against Angola, Greece, United States, France, Argentina and Egypt. Its only height advantage was evident against UAE so they can keep whatever ever statistics they have recorded in their blow out game.

Never mind the fastbreak points against the Arabs for we hardly score in that aspect against the gangling but effective Africans, Europeans and the Americans.

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For the first time since the Fiba tournament for Under 17 started, Gilas outrebounded its "ka-height" and in the process getting those fastbreak pitches and points.

What does that remind us? We will never play in the quarterfinals, semis or finals for these Fiba age-group developmental encounters if we cannot form a cohesive, talented, tall and trained-well-and-long-enough squads.

With limited time, and limited talents to choose from, the local fans and basketball-crazy country, cannot expect these boys to produce a miracle.

As NBA champion coach Pat Riley (with the LA Lakers and Miami Heat) said decades ago: "no balls, no rings." In short, getting those defensive and offensive rebounds is the key to a championship title, and wearing those rings.

Perhaps in the near future, those skillful cagers "promdi" (or from the province) can have a chance to compete in the elimination phase and be scouted by coaches from the National Capital Region.

That is why Scoopers are prodding local organizers like the Monico Cup to conduct tournaments for lower age-group brackets and not the 21U. Maybe leagues will sprout and give those 19U, 18U and 17U some enough time to show their wares.

Just like the unproductive Bacolod City Sports Council, local basketball clubs and organizations are more interested in their own affairs. If only a couple or three of these groups can sponsor tournaments, maybe one or two from the City of Smiles and the Province of Negros Occidental can wear the national colors.

Until then, we will just be contented with seeing on TV how a team like Batang Gilas is demolished by taller adversaries, and avenging on hapless neophytes like UAE.

Are you still praying for Gilas Pilipinas? You should as it will be a bumpy journey for Jeff Chan, the other nationals, and Chot Reyes in Spain.
Hope our Smart Gilas will have enough heart to survive.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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