Continued loss suffered by Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA Wold Cup mirrors Philippine history

Regard for sport mirrors society. And nowhere is this more evident than in the Philippines. Last night, Gilas Pilipinas was handily beaten by Puerto Rico in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain after literally dropping the ball — losing an early lead it enjoyed over the first half of the game. The game was a brilliant metaphorical summary of the Philippines’ history since being granted Independence by the United States on the 4th of July, 1946.

Pilipinas Gilas: 'A' for effort, 'A+' for 'puso'
Pilipinas Gilas: ‘A’ for effort, ‘A+’ for ‘puso’
In the years following Independence, and over much of the 1950s, the Philippines led the region in terms of military, economic, and political might. Back then the Koreas, Singapore, the Malay Federation and Indonesia were mosquito-infested basket cases. The Philippines, on the other hand, was the poster girl of American-styled democracy. Inspiring speeches were delivered by true statesmen in its Senate. Metro Manila showed so much promise as it looked to grow along the lines of a brilliant urban development plan that envisioned major thoroughfares reaching out to the suburbs from the port area complemented by circumferential roads connecting these along arcs radiating from the city centre. The population of the Philippines in the late 1940s and early 1950’s was yet to hit 20 million.

Back then the achievement and global standing of the Philippines was absolute along world-recognised metrics — economic output, fighting ability, and political influence. There was no need for puso — no need for nebulous notions of what it means to be a winner.

Just monitoring one’s Twitter timeline last night, one can readily observe the way the standard of success changes with the score of the game. In the first half when Gilas led, the cheers were around the numbers. In the second half as Puerto Rico regrouped, the cheers were around the effort. When time ran out, Filipinos were quick to give Gilas Pilipinas an “A” for effort and an “A+” for “heart”. The score? No need to talk about that. It’s all about the feeling.

Of course people need to go on with life even when they keep losing. Indeed, many successful entrepeneurs today will have racked up an astounding scorecard of loss before they hit it big. If they hadn’t kept trying even after losing so many times, they wouldn’t have succeeded in the end.

When will the Philippines succeed then? Suffice to say, it has suffered enough loss to be entitled to a bit of success. But, see, therein that sentence lies the whole trouble with Filipinos’ regard for what it means to succeed. Success is not an entitlement. Success is earned.

Filipinos need to mount concrete actions against their criminally-insane politicians.
Filipinos need to mount concrete actions against their criminally-insane politicians.
How does one earn success? By doing something exceptional. How does one overcome consistent and crushing loss over a protracted period? By doing something differently.

What is the Philippines doing differently to break its decades-long losing streak?

That is the billion-peso challenge. Filipinos need to do something different if they want to see different results. The Philippine economy needs to grow by orders of magnitude annually to make headway over the Philippines’ galloping population growth. It needs a drastic overhaul of how it runs its biggest cities to arrest their degeneration into squalid oblivion. It needs to take decisive action against its criminally-insane senators and House Representatives in order to cure its political paralysis and refocus governance to development.

When will Filipinos unite, not around a two-bit basketball team for an hour or two, but around what really matters over many years?

Until we answer this question, our society will remain what it has been for the last 70 years — a failed nation that is a consistent loser.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of

Leave a Reply

73 Comments on "Continued loss suffered by Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA Wold Cup mirrors Philippine history"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
From Prada to Nganga

This is their 4th straight loss. When I head of how the game goes it was like “Ningas Cogon” wherein the fire burns at first but in the end it fades away.

I’m not sure if you will agree with me but in the end we all know that whatever the outcome of their next game is win or lose there is a lesson to be learned.

Agreed on all your points but you need to cut our basketball team some slack. I don’t know if you did some background check but our basketball affairs have been wrought with terrible leadership and corruption beginning as far back in the 70’s and grew at its peak around the 90’s. When the country placed 15th out of 16 teams in the 2003 Asian Championships, that was when the Philippine olympic committee decided it was no longer going to tolerate the mismanagement of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP). The formation of the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) in… Read more »
I may also want to argue the point of how the Philippines actually focuses solely on basketball but completely sets aside any success/achievement in other sports during the same period. Dragonboat team at ICF World Championships and there was another sport just recenly Taekwondo I think (it’s a martial arts). These 2 sports wins actually have little to almost no exposure at all acknowledging their success at the world stage because the focus is on Basketball. Heck, I have trouble finding the article relating to the martial art because it’s already buried in major news sites. It shows failure to… Read more »

Obviously, this writer does not know anything about sports. Experts when it comes to politics but pretentious when it comes to sports. Naku baka sabihin butthurt ako. Oh well.


****What I’m saying is our losses in the WC can’t be solidly correlated with the state of our nation. If so, was this writer ready to relate our society to being a great one had we have overcame the mere 23 points (points differential) we currently have in the standings?

Consoling the team by giving an a for effort and a+ for puso just promotes mediocrity. We should just humbly recognize that we have a shitty sports team. Instead of being happy, we should be mad. Vent out our anger and indignation. On social media, maybe on the streets. Maybe some politicians and celebrities will catch wind of our anger and indignation and it would bring more light to just how woeful our team is. It will create clamor which may translate into the giving of endowments to the team and/or government support for sports. But no, instead of that,… Read more »
Beawolf Agatte

The sorry state of our Sports programs and Government programs boils down to too much dirty politics, corruption, incompetence and the palakasan system. Plus the current government who has no foresight nor priorities except how to fatten their wallets and her KKKKs, resulta sa kangkungan tayo napunta.

Beawolf Agatte

Ang kulit eh sabi nang magtanim na lang ng Kamoteng Dilaw, mangangatuwiran pa rin ng baluktot.

Jett Rink

i’m a fan and admirer of benign0, but i think this one article is really stretching it if it compares this team’s particular losses (no wins so far) in THIS tournament, to phil. history. maybe other examples will be better. south korea is also currently winless, and all losses averaging more than 20 points, but i won’t compare their performance to them being losers in their young history as a nation.

an inherent problem with our players is that most cannot shoot properly outside the 3-point line… the biggest emphasis is always on lay-ups and dunks (because they look good con camera, or is a best way to imitate those jordan posters). i remember years ago in a match against the chinese team, the latter having mostly six-footers up; they had the heights to play an inside game very well… but could also sink 3-pointers with ease. obvoiusly our ‘all-star lineup’ was no match for these sharpshooting giants. did we learn anything from that? hell no! because pogi ang makapag lay-up… Read more »

I look at this and this again and again, and I don’t get it: what does Gilas losing 4 straight games at the FIBA World Cup have to do with the shortcomings of Philippine politics, beyond the coincidence of them being from the same country? Should every game a team composed of Pinoys plays (whether it be in basketball, football, dragonboat racing, et cetera) be loaded with such cosmic significance, reaching far into the past, casting aspersions onto the future?


Ni-rerelate nila ung mga talo ng Gilas sa society ng Pilipinas.So ibig sabihin pala, muntik na nila sabihing maunlad ang bansa natin kasi muntik na din tayo manalo sa games against Croatia, Argentina, saka Puerto Rico.

matt basillo

ey benigno.. how do you like ‘dem apples eh?

Toro Hyden
Oh…those were the days…not so…the Philippine economy was bouyed up by : Japanese Reparations and U.S. aids. These Funds went into the pockets of most politicians; instead of rebuilding the economy of the Philippines. Germany and Japan; the two defeated countries, took advantage of the development Fund; from the Marshall Plan. Now both countries are prosperous. Their people worked hard together, to rebuild their countries. South Korea was even a devastated country. Now, it is a very prosperous country…Malaysia, Singapore,Vietnam… We crow of victory first, before winning the game. The Aquino Propaganda Machine is now defective…it was spewing propaganda for… Read more »
Toro hyden1

The Aquino propaganda Machine went defective…with the Gilas Team and the Filipino U.N. Peacekeepers fiasco…


All of this nebulous concept about heart. They make it seem like as if Gilas has a monopoly on heart, as if they’re the only team who has it.

I beg to differ. I think the other teams has just as much heart as the Philippine team, the difference being that they were able to translate heart into actual wins.

Why settle for just the fighting heart when you can have the fighting heart and win with it?


The best these defenders of DAPNoy and the Guilas heart is to plant Yellow Camote and eat it. Para umutot sila ng umutot kasi Utak nila puro Ampaw or Hangin. Mga hunghang kaya ang Pilipinas napunta sa Kangkungan.

Dale Gozar
PWEDE NA YAN (THIS WILL DO) -clear sign of FILIPINO MEDIOCRITY To Gilas fan I respect very much your support and enthusiasm on the win and efforts of Gilas. But “Pwede na yan attitude” (this will do) is a clear sign of FILIPINO MEDIOCRITY – being happy & contented with a none bearing win instead of winning all 4. It also makes Filipinos stupid/dumb because there is really Nothing to be proud of – win or loose Senegal not Gilas will qualify in the next round of FIBA. “Pwede na yan! (That will do!) – This kind of thinking makes… Read more »

…and so there goes one nation who claims basketball it’s national sport but could manage only 1 win

The Original Sandinista Kid

Time and time again, we got to forget pinning our hopes on basketball when we can’t even make the height qualifications? How about soccer, let’s set our sights for the next World Cup!!!