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.

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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.

73 Replies to “Continued loss suffered by Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA Wold Cup mirrors Philippine history”

  1. 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.

    1. “wherein the fire burns at first but in the end it fades away.”

      It’s like they’re smoking cigarettes that’s why they lost their strength the final half.

    2. If we’re talking purely on basketball merit, Chot Reyes doesn’t seem to be able to make the small adjustments that separate the winners from the losers, more so in close games.

  2. 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 2007 was pretty much the rebirth of Filipino basketball in international competitions. We went from 9th place to 2nd place in the Asian championships and eventually succeeded in 1 of 2 goals that is to participate in the World Cup (I hope we can qualifiy in the Olympics). The point I’m trying to make is that our basketball team can be competitive if we continue our NT programs with some improvements in leadership, coaching, and system. From the looks of it, we are gradually doing so every year. We need our team to compete in these world tournaments in order to improve. Experience will do you wonders and this why Iran is the best Asian team right now because they keep competing amd their players have absolute commitment to their flag.

    I am positive that we can come back in the world stage and play better basketball. If there’s one thing this world cup has shown, it is that we can compete globally if we are, as you said, willing to do things differently.

    1. The team’s efforts do not go unnoticed. If they do things differently, which I feel they will, they could become fierce global competitors.

      However, this article isn’t primarily talking about the team nor the sport. It’s just saying that it mirrors the country.

      The Philippines could also become a global competitor. However, the people are just going back to the same old routines. Individuals are doing something different, some succeeding and some failing, but the country as a whole? That’s another story.

      1. What has our elected president ever done to compete?? His mom died. That is the why the country voted for him. We deserve to do lousy in international competition because in the eyes of Pinoys Noynoy, The Binays, the Erap family, the Marcos family are all winners. So in truth we are losers. We can not compete because we don’t appreciate people who can. It is about having the right name, the right family and not the right skill. That is the pinoy way and will be the pinoy way for a long time to come. Self entitled. “Oh your mom died, you have my vote”.

        That attitude may be fine locally but get a country of people who worship the Aquinos and the Estradas all playing basketball and it can’t even get significant international wins against other countries whose best athletes play football, baseball and get Olympic medals.

  3. 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 recognize those who did effort and actually accomplished something which is quite disheartening.

    1. It has a lot to do with advertising. If you compare the amount of advertising between basketball and another sport, there will always be a huge disparity. This is why sponsors are more willing to lend their support to basketball because there is a higher number of audience for their benefit. This, in turn, creates a problem for other sports in need of funding from private enterprises. It isn’t because private investors don’t want to support other sports but simply it won’t have a return invest on their end.

      This is why government support is necessary. I believe basketball can be left onto private entities while sports such as boxing, taekwondo, dragon boat racing, and the like can be assisted by government funding. The other thing we can do in the long term is to create more variety in our local sports culture. In the US, many kids aged 15-19 play as many as five sports because their fitness and athleticism (developed from an early age) allows them to be flexible. In the end, they choose a sport where they have a greater chance of succeeding and a bright future. Sports is all about commitment from both the athletes and their managers,

  4. 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.

    1. Assuming he does not know anything about sports, how different is he from the sum total of Pinoy sports achievement ? Pinoys solely love basketball more than any nation on Earth. Where did that get them? 0-4. Please enlighten me on the sports experts that seem to be missing from GRP.

        1. What I’m saying is our loss in the WC can’t be solidly correlated with the state of our sport. If so, was this writer ready to relate out society to being a great should we have overcome the mere 23 points (points differntial) we currently have in the standings?

        2. Yeah World Championships so what? And yet our country’s athletes still didn’t win a gold medal. INB4 the “at least” excuse of da pinoy praydist.

    2. Making it to the finals is a rare feat for a country that puts all it’s team sports eggs into basketball. The only country that does that. Do what you want but if you suck don’t expect glory from the outside world. Be satisfied with glory from a nation that elects a president SOLELY because his mommy died.

        1. That is the battle cry of Gilas? “LET’s GO ENAMOR THE FOREIGN PRESS”??

          This is not the movie Cars where Lightning McQueen stops racing and pushes Paul Newman’s car across the finish line. What does the Philippines have to show for being the only country dedicated to basketball? Attracting Blatche??

        2. It’s just what really happened. The foreign press did noticed it all by themselves.

          Tell me, does losing mean we have to stop playing? Because if so, then the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Cubs, Florida Panthers, Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Bucks should all stop playing.

        3. 24 teams in a tournament, 3 of them winless. Wow, the press will be enamored with one of the winless teams. How cute. Don’t worry, if you find my response bitin, working on the new Sept 2014 Gilas post as we speak. BTW, don’t lecture me about the Cubs. They are not nicknamed the lovable losers for nothing. Their fans are not disconnected with their reality. Anybody reading this Google Steve Bartman.

        4. you’re misig the point by looking at the losses. the thing is we were competitive in those games. sure we haven’t won, but we have to be realistic with our goals. only stupid people look think we are going to win it all. sorry but I know a lot more about baseball than you do

        5. Why this overemphasis on “puso”/heart? So the other teams didn’t have any heart? I don’t think so. I think those other teams also had heart, the difference being that they were able to translate that “fighting heart” into wins.

          Such a nebulous concept, this “fighting heart”. Please, nobody really expected Gilas to win that much. But if you’re a true realist you’d ask why Gilas has to have a monopoly on “heart” the way the media portrays it, as if they’re the only team capable of that.

  5. ****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?

  6. 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, we laud our team for its miserable finish and worse, were actually happy about it. But oh, don’t criticize them, they just lost, cheer them on instead–yes, i agree to giving them encouragement but to close our eyes to this state and just be happy makes me sick.

    1. read the other forums concerning phil sports and basketball. many are angry particularly at the coach. they are indignant and are heartbroken that we lost. there are more who feel that not being swamped is enough just does not cut it anymore, that we should strive to win. true sports fans have that feeling now. as far as support and endowment to this team is concerned, one Manny Pangilinan, who i observed is one who is sometimes deified in this website, bankrolls it.

    2. When has it become such an evil deed to laud guys for their heroic efforts? When the Chicago Little League baseball team went home losers in the finals, was it bad also for the CHicagoans to laud their team?

      1. Did we even say that it’s evil to laud their heroic efforts? It’s all about bandwagoning a goal you don’t really own you palamunin.

        1. I should’ve used the word “bad”, sorry. But goal we don’t really own?? We’re going to earn it first before we own it. Bandwagonning? A lot of us have been fans of our national team, of basketball, of the sport you probably can’t even play to the lowest level :))

      2. read the article again. the only thing being criticized here is most pinoy’s “passion” for “heroics” and “puso” yet are still strangely apathetic to actual issues in need of real heroes and passion. and “puso”, if you may. btw, you’re probably stretching the term “hero” when it’s applied to a sports team. =)

    3. The problem with admitting that we have a shitty basketball team is that Gilas positively isn’t shitty. What Gilas has shown despite their losses is that it can compete; Chot has to address a lot of issues with the team before sallying off to the next tournament, and the lack of height cannot yet be solved, but Chot does have something to work on. Gilas already has the offense down pat; now on everything else.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 ka in between a bunch of giants even if the ball doesnt go in! well A for effort, A+ for puso, because if you can’t play, display.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

    1. Flawed logic is flawed. Go back on harvesting sweet potatoes you point-misser. Doon ka nababagay kasi pinapakita mo lang ang pagka-dakilang inutil mo dito gunggong.

      1. I don’t see what point he missed. Care to elaborate instead of hosing everyone down? You could at least try to be nice; we’re not gonna bite you.

      2. Flawed logic for flawed logic. That’s what I did. C’mon GRP, you also need to get real haha 🙂 Acting intellectual but hurls words meant to hurt like any kelot on the street haha.

        1. It’s like when you cover the misgivings with excuses. I would hear some people would reason out the other team are bigger, taller, with damn great stamina, has different plays that’s why the Gilas lost. Some would even say those giants are monsters. But you know it’s a World Cup so those qualities are to be expected. And that’s just with the countries the Gilas faced. We haven’t even inched closer to facing off with the Dream Team. Imagine that in the World Cup one would be playing with the greatest players in the world and here you have a team who haven’t even played with teams from other countries except on actual games (correct me if I’m wrong). They haven’t practiced with such giants so how would they fair? Even if you’re the best player in your country, it’s far different when you go out facing the best of other countries. You can’t go to a war equipped with just land ammos when your enemy has aircrafts to bomb you down. Manny Pacquiao on the other hand is now the measure of what a world-class boxer is. He would spar with boxers of different caliber and nationality before his actual fight. He lost some too, yes, but he has more win to spare. And yes, he also have “the heart” and for several of his bouts people forced him to carry the heavy weight of the Philippine flag but I don’t think it’s for that reason that he won. He won because of his skills, his “kamao”, and his passion for boxing.

          What keeps PBA alive? Their supporters, the high ratings. Because you keep this sport alive it’s but right, one would think, that they bring home the bacon. But first the players have to match the other countries “passion” for basketball. All the fans can do, of course, is cheer for their favorite player or team – Support. Same goes with our government. Who the hell support the government? The taxpayers! Then because one pays his taxes he would expect that the government would come up with this and that however he don’t care how the government officials spend or use his money. The fact that it’s his money he should be more concerned how it is spend but no. You pay your taxes and when it’s already squandered or misused that’s the only time your mouth foamed with anger and cry blood (one would even just shrug his shoulders hearing about an overpriced government facility but would rise in his chair to defend the Gilas Pilipinas ‘achievements’).

          “Regard for sport mirrors society.” In both term, we’re used to losses, we’re equipped with excuses. ‘The Heart’ for one sounds good same as ‘Daang Matuwid’.

    2. Yun naman pala e. You do understand that the whole point of the article is that the Philippines is analogous to Gilas. So much potential lost. The keyword here is ‘potential’. Hence comparisons to Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and so on. These countries were in less advantageous positions than the Philippines was post-WWII yet they managed to surpass the Phils. 60 years after, all because of complacency and misplaced priorities.

      Gilas had potential, and while I do not discount the assertion that they played with “heart”, I also do not dismiss the likelihood that the other national teams also played with “heart” and they managed to translate that heart into actual victories. I do not believe that Gilas has a monopoly on “heart”. Filipinos then focus too much on the “heart” aspect, then retreat back into their usual complacency. “It’s ok they lost so many games – at least they played with heart.”

      Should one settle on the potential only as Filipinos habitually do or should we strive to translate that potential into actual wins?

      Besides, the country hinges too much of its national honor on basketball games. Quite silly if you think about it. A truly accomplished society would only consider sports achievements incidental to national collective achievement.

  12. 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 the formidability of the Gilas Team…and firefight victory of the Filipino U.N. Peacekeepers in the Golan Heights…

    They cannot even produce a good lie…

    1. Our travails through the years do make for a good sob story, but I still don’t see how our failings as a nation carry over into basketball. The connection between the two exists, or at least it seems to me, only on those who have nothing but carping and griping in mind — but that in itself is not easy to prove, especially as it is an axiom on this site that every single failing that can be attributed to a Pinoy (or a group of them) must mean the failing of the Philippines as a whole.

        1. You’re also implying that anything that bashes Noynoy for so much as breathing is just spouting facts. No bias, no added spin, no opinion masquerading as fact, all objectivity.

          Which cannot be true.

        2. But it’s really obvious you noytard, wag ka nang mag-deny! He’s always being above the law and grabs every single credit from his predecessors. Need I say more? Or you’re just an absolute ignoramus you troll?

  13. 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?

    1. I don’t know if you people are robots confused by human emotions like Sheldon Cooper or people who do not understand the concept of marketing. Or if you were just born yesterday. 🙂

      1. Concept of marketing my ass. More like product placement only to fool stupid masses like you while they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

      2. Ah so superlucky20 admits all this brouhaha about “puso” is just a cheap marketing ploy by the Philippine media. There you have it folks.

        I also chuckle whenever someone from the GIlas team makes a three point shot and then the match commentator plugs in a product placement for paint products.

        1. Yes it is. And it is a catchy marketing ploy and everyone (except you) is happy to play along. Talk among people of #puso is mixed with guffaws and Chino Trinidad impersonations; it is not a serious discussion like with you and your robotic friends. It is all in good fun; something that seems alien to you seeing that your every waking hour is concerned about Noynoy’s continuing existence.

          But the reason that marketing ploy worked is that Gilas did indeed show puso in their games. Anyone who watched their games saw it except you. But I don’t expect you to, because you hate Filipinos. 🙂

        2. “And it is a catchy marketing ploy and everyone (except you) is happy to play along.”

          And yet you call us robots because we’re not playing along? Because we’re independent minded (may sarili kaming isip) and we don’t play along to every fad and trend that goes along the way (hindi kami gaya-gaya at sunod-sunuran), but you call us robots?

          Make up your mind naman. You don’t even know half of what you’re saying. You’re making a fool of yourself.

  14. 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.

    -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 us content with mediocrity. Whenever we say pwede na yan, we’re saying I’m ok with so-so products & services, I’m ok with low quality or mediocre output. We all deserve better than that from ourselves & from others. ”

    How can we expect Philippines to excel, succeed or just improve in any sports, our economy and create better Leaders?

    “Remember If we expect only the best from ourselves & from others, it will vastly improve the quality of every aspect of our lives.”

    Gilas clearly could have won all 4 games & enter the next round. It is not the player’s Fault but Chot Reyes (coach/leader) END GAME DECISIONS was clearly a big disappointment. This is my reason why I no longer watch PBA since none of the current coaches are as great as Robert Jaworski, Ron Jacob and Baby Dalupan. Specially now that Manny PACQUIAO is now Coaching & Playing for Kia Motor

    Unlike Chot Reyes, Ron Jacobs and Jaworski did not get full support (financial/moral) from private & government,, Media exposure and time to prepare our national Team for Basketball.

    I have always supported our national team since 1980s when only amateur players (no PBA & NBA) are allowed to Play in FIBA. The financial support was provided only by Danding Conjuanco

    1. RON JACOBS & TURO VALENZONA produce Basketball Prodigies (future Star Players of PBA)
    – Samboy Lim
    – Allan Caidic
    – Hector Calma
    – Yves Dignadice
    – Jojo Lastimosa
    – Ato Agustin
    – Pido Jarencio
    – Ricky Brown
    – Frankie Lim
    – Ricky Relosa
    – Elmer Reyes

    2. JOE LIPA team
    – Benjie Paras
    – Alvin Patrimonio
    – Ronnie Magsanok
    – Nelson Asaytono
    – Bong Alvarez
    – Eric Reyes
    – Jun Reyes
    – Bobby Jose


    All had PBA Professional Player (like NBA are now allowed to play at FIBA) but was given limited time/resources to prepare for the tournament (Months only).

    4. CHOT REYES – had full financial & talent support/resources (PBA & MVP Smart) with full media attention and Years of Preparation for FIBA.

    Result is a None Bearing WIN and he spoiled our 4 best chances to shine -an upset win against Argentina, Puerto Rico, Croatia and Greece.

  16. This article, in a way, almost reads like a cheesy profession of a man’s love for a woman. It was very emotional and very sincere. That woman, being the Philippines, and the writer being her lover who wishes nothing more but positive change in our country. Disappointing how the comment section, almost all 100+ of it, made it seem like it was about basketball. Get a grip people. Keep missing the point like that and were bound to national discord for the rest of our days.

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