“Together Everyone Achieves More” (T.E.A.M).
THAT’S what I saw during that do-or-die game for Gilas Pilipinas in Khazakstan. Imagine what would have happened had Andray Blatche not been that hot from beyond the arc. It was a really good thing he was spot on for the first 19 Gilas points of the ballgame. Otherwise, it would have been a totally different scenario – well, we never know, right?
Watching the match, I was getting very disappointed because there was no team play on the offense for Gilas. “Lahat na lang nakatingin at umaasa kay Blatche,” I told my son. He agreed with his straightforward “Oo nga!”
Andray the sniper. Andray the rebounder. Andray with the steal. Andray with the block. Blatche three points... hey, that was truly amazing.
But then again, it was very scary, too. Aside from Troy Rosario, no other player seemed to want to make a shot. “Ang daming shooter sa Pinas pero ayaw nilang mag-shoot!” I whined. I was looking full game and hoping that the other Pros would get into their own zone before everything else crumbles. Relying on one single player to carry the scoring load will be futile. In fact, it is a perfect recipe for disaster.
Good thing Gilas Pilipinas was destined to reach the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China come August of this year. Sabi nga ni Paul Desiderio, “atin ‘to!” With Andray saddled with four fouls, the locals found their game.
Puso plus utak plus skill plus import gave Gilas, and the Philippines, the sweet “W.” Of course their fate wasn’t entirely up to them. They had to win the match against the deadly Khazaks and hope that the basketball gods will grant their wish of having any one among Japan, Jordan or Lebanon to lose their last game. And so it happened. “Muntik na naman.”
Japan won and Jordan was leading against New Zealand while Gilas was still playing (Jordan eventually won). Our ghost and basketball nemesis, South Korea, did us the greatest favor by beating team Lebanon. “Hay salamat... 2019 FIBA World Cup here we come...”
Losing two home games last year made things more difficult. A lot of us were blaming Coach Yeng for the debacle. In this last game against Khazakstan I was again dissatisfied with how Yeng Guiao was handling things. This is just my personal observation, but I think he was not coaching. A great coach motivates his players and encourages them to work together and trust each other. A great coach balances the team energy so that they sync (not sink) and allows the individual players to find their rhythm so they complement each other.
Don’t get me wrong here.
Coach Yeng is a brilliant and champion coach but I think handling Gilas for the 2019WC should be returned to Coach Chot. With the different stronger teams qualifying from the other tournaments, we need a great motivator for Team Pilipinas.
I think individually, our players can match up (except maybe for size) but the key to winning more games will be dependent on how the coach motivates his players. I feel we can beat Iran, South Korea, Japan, Jordan, and maybe even China if we are included in the same bracket with them. The coach will determine how Gilas will perform.
Whether it will still be Coach Yeng, or whoever, Laban Pilipinas. Let us all rally for our Gilas and pray hard that our greatest victory in WC2019 will be working and playing as a team!
“The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.” ~ Margaret Carty
“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” ~ Vista M. Kelly
“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” ~ Fernando Bonaventura
“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” Emily Kimbrough
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” ~ Babe Ruth