Larry Bird to Gilas Pilipinas: Keep improving-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
MANILA -- Gilas Pilipinas, who made history last August for bringing the Philippines back to the world map of basketball, can further succeed if they outdo themselves.
Take it from NBA legend Larry Bird, who was part of the United States “Dream Team” that handily bagged the Olympic title in 1992.
“It's like the playoffs. The first round is tough and the second round is completely different. As you keep moving up, the competition is greater... You gotta keep working and keep playing. You gotta stay together as you keep moving up and pull together in the same direction,” he said in a short briefing on Wednesday.
Bird linked up with Michael Jordan, arguably the sport’s best player ever, and rival Magic Johnson to help the US win the gold medal without even calling for a timeout.
That team challenged other nations to beef up their squads, Bird observed, as the US dropped to its lowest finish in the Olympics after salvaging the bronze medal in the Athens edition in 2004.
“The one thing I've seen in the last 20 years is everybody's gotten better. It's not just the United States or China, everybody in the world's basketball is getting better, and it's because of what happened in 1992, because if they didn't get better, USA was gonna dominate forever,” he said.
“So what you've seen over the last 15 or 18 years, every once in a while we do get beat, and we get beat because of what happened in 1992,” said Bird, currently the president for basketball operations of the Indiana Pacers who are in Manila for a pre-season match against the Houston Rockets.
Gilas, which placed second in the 27th Fiba Asia Championship held in Manila, had no illusions of taking down the best teams in the globe in Spain next year.
Because for Gilas and the nation who loved the sport so much, a ticket to the world stage after missing the trip in the last 35 years is already a huge prize. (Sunnex)