Mendoza: Now it’s clear: Aim is Asiad gold, not Spain

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Monday, March 31, 2014


THE target, I repeat, isn’t the Fiba World Cup in Spain. The target is the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

Our officials have seen the light—finally. They were in the dark at the start—blinded by success initially given them by the Fiba Asia Cup in August.
A quick flashback.

The Gilas Pilipinas placed second behind Iran in the tournament now famously,
dramatically, known as the “11 Days in August.”

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The runner-up finish was worth gold because it brought us back to the Fiba World Cup
after nearly four decades.

The last time we made it there was in 1978. And that was even half-based as we got aboard without a sweat. Only because we hosted the tournament did we earn free passage.

Sadly, not one certified superstar was in that team because the country’s bulk of stars were in the Philippine Basketball Association. At that time, professionals weren’t allowed to play in Fiba-sanctioned events. We got beaten to a pulp.

Now that it is open era in basketball and many other sports—except boxing and golf where amateurs and pros are still not allowed to battle each other—the best basketball players in the world will be in Spain for the Fiba Worlds in August-September.

Yes, we will be in Spain, too, but, sadly, we won’t seriously contend for the gold.

That’d be wishful thinking, if not downright crazy to hanker for.

For one, the US and the best of Europe will be there. Brutally, the US will beat us easily by 50 points or more—if we ever meet at all.

For another, we are ranked merely 34th in the world. Because Senegal is No. 41, perhaps we might defeat the Senegalese because they are the lowest ranked in the 24-team field?

Still, beating Senegal would be a mere bonus. Winning two in our B division that will also include Argentina, Croatia, Greece and Puerto Rico would be a miracle.

But how about winning the Asian Games gold two weeks after Spain?

Yes we can but first, let us naturalize that 7-footer from the NBA to replace the injured 6-10 Marcus Douthit.

With that done, the Asiad dream could be just one wink away.
And there wouldn’t be wishful thinking there.

(alsol47@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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