So near

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By Henry G. Doble

Take Two

Friday, September 5, 2014


SO NEAR yet so far. Too close but the door did not open.

This is how Gilas Pilipinas fared in the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain regardless of its last game against Senegal (as of press time).

All of us are expecting a rout by the world's best against our national team. We were all caught by surprise just like the players, fans and the opponents.

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Imagine extending Croatia (where ex-Chicago Bull Toni Kukoc first played basketball) to the limit before bowing 81-78.

Greece could only win by a dozen points and Argentina was sent to a brink of losing saved only by Gilas’ inability to finish with flourish at crunch time.

That four-point loss to Puerto Rico is the worst as Pilipinas was on its way to stay alive hoping to beat Senegal in its last game to advance. Just like against the Croatians and Argentinians, the Gilas guards blew their chances.

Naturalized Andre Blatche cannot do it alone. Against the Puerto Ricans, the Nationals seemed to watch its would-be savior as he attacked the opposition thereby unable to help in transition or crash the boards for putbacks.

Perhaps the country's best were themselves. Surprised by their performance it came rather late for them to discover that they can be at par with the biggies.

But having a drought for decades not being on the same court with these late bloomers in the sport, Gilas found themselves in a position where there was pressure for its last two games.

Winning over Senegal would be a bonus for all the heartaches since day one. After all, “Puso” was their battlecry since the beginning of Fiba Asia.

We're almost there… so far.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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