Again: Why the Gilas Win may fail to uplift the Philippines

In connection to the recent win by the Gilas team against Senegal, a while back, The University of the Philippines obtained what is considered a rare sports victory. What signified that it was rare and important was because they decided to put up a big bonfire that time. It also seemed other that people criticized this bonfire celebration, because someone came out with a defensive statement. It went like:

“They say that the University of the Philippines is a microcosm of the Philippines. I think that’s true….

People ask why we’re celebrating over this little win. People wonder why we’re heating up with pride in the bonfire at the Sunken Garden right now. To be honest? It’s no little win for us.

Winning after a streak of losing is like feeling the sun over your head after a week of rain. It’s like watching Guardians of the Galaxy after a bloody week of enrollment in UP. It’s like finally eating ChickenJoy in Jollibee after they’ve regained their supply.

I guess you can feel the same way over what’s happening in our country. We’ve had Typhoon Yolanda smash through Visayas. We’ve had a parade of corruption and greed. We’ve had Glenda. We have war knocking on our doors because of a border dispute. We’ve had Metro Manila traffic slowing down to a carabao’s trot.

But when the little victories come, they can have an amazing effect. Like seeing Megan Young strutting Filipino beauty all the way to Miss World. Like hearing about Leyte towns regaining their stability and security after Yolanda. Like seeing activists bravely holding a SONA of the People. Like hearing about UP graduates in far-flung areas of the country teaching, curing, inventing and toiling selflessly.

Big hope comes with little wins. UP won one game today. Next year, it might win two. The year after that, it might just win three.

If you’ve already heard a voice inside you say, “It’s possible”, then there’s no reason to stop the fight. That’s true for UP and for the Philippines.”

In my view, I don’t find this wrong for U.P. and I agree that there should be no reason to “stop the fight” (which I assume means fighting against Pork Barrel). But I see a problem with making this an attitude for the whole country. The problematic attitude for me is Filipinos treating every little victory as an el grande fiesta. Basically, I believe this attitude reflects the real negative attitude, one reason why Philippine society fails to move forward. It’s because Filipinos signify through this attitude that they expect defeat and failure.

Recently we’ve had this attitude towards the win of Smart Gilas over Senegal. The public’s minds are likely conditioned to “we are Filipinos, we’ll lose basketball anyway.” Then they say, “oh we won! Big celebration!” The Gilas team doesn’t think this way, even if they may lose, they still have the mentality of winners. Meaning, even if they lose, they take it graciously – not like the uber-rude, foul-mouthed and barbaric fantards.

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And I’ll dare say this: even if Gilas actually wins a lot of games and becomes the champion, it’s not really a victory for the whole country. Why? Because other Filipinos, especially the fantards, do not display the same positive behavior as the basketball players. The fantards likely won’t win even a trash can shooting contest – so they “hang on” to another’s victory and say it’s theirs. But that’s clearly stealing.

The point is: Filipinos seem to jump on every Filipino Pride bandwagon because they feel defeated.

I do see the point of the celebration attitude as well. As colleague Paul Farol said, every achievement by another Filipino is a candle in the dark. Filipinos celebrate every little achievement by someone like Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Charice Pempengco and others. Because the Filipinos can claim, there are great Filipinos, too, not like us.

Photo from, 2013

Photo from, 2013

Wait a minute: did you see that? Not like us! So Pempengco, Salonga and Pacquiao demonstrate that they are Filipinos who can achieve great things, because they are not like the other Filipinos. So there’s the problem: why are the other Filipinos like that (refer to the list of bloopers below)? Isn’t the other Filipinos’ job to fix their own problems and achieve something for themselves? So they will prove that Filipinos are not bad? So Filipinos don’t really want to win. They want others to win while they just lazily latch on to that win to steal the credit.

Along with the above, Fellow blogger Paul Farol quoted me on why Filipinos need this candle in the dark:

Pinoys love to imagine that they are “oppressed” people in the world. But when they do things like post pictures of themselves wearing their employer’s clothes without permission (the maid in Singapore), slap a helpless Alzheimer’s patient (Jonathan Aquino case), steal from a US children’s cancer fund (Rene Ballenas pleaded guilty to larceny), make a loan in the U.S. then run home to avoid paying it, murder a famous fashion designer (Andrew Cunanan killing Gianni Versace), complain about someone else’s name (the Filipino complaining about someone being named Kiki in Australia) or be on the defensive after the botched Manila Hostage Crisis, you know they are far from “oppressed” or “deserving pride.” It’s more like they need therapy. If only there was a psychiatric treatment called Ego Therapy.

Add to that the pikon trolls who swamp the web pages of the opposite team… it’s really dark.

So back to the analysis. We stick to celebrating every little victory without looking at the big picture. This is what Nick Joaquin called the heritage of smallness. We look at the candle in the dark… but fail to focus on why it’s dark. Isn’t light supposed to be the normal condition? What’s causing the darkness? Isn’t there a bigger problem to look at and solve? So for example, in reference to the bloopers Filipinos commit above, isn’t stopping that kind of behavior one way to solve the problem?

Another angle to the attitude that even a small victory should be given el grande fiesta celebrations reflects one other major problem of the Filipino:

The Puede-Na-Yan mentality.

Thus, for me, the solution is perhaps to stop making a big fuss out of every little “victory” (just tone it down, actually), and to actually demand more. We can’t keep accepting “consuelo de bobos” as achievements. We need real victories, real achievements, bigger stuff to handle. This includes not only addressing the corruption in politics and society (since even the ordinary people can be corrupt). We need to improve our economy, upgrade our culture from a pathetic gossip- and showbiz-driven travesty, to one that is truly modern in both culture and structure. One that is intellectually strong and willing to challenge status quo and undo the corrupt and backward culture that is associated with our country.

Only then will we have true Pinoy Pride.

52 Replies to “Again: Why the Gilas Win may fail to uplift the Philippines”

  1. LOL if you are gonna measure everything materialistically then you will be disappointed.

    Actually, these are the things that makes life worthwhile. It is human interest my boy. Are people interested in GDPs, GNPs, and other economic figures? No …. but sports, music, entertainment, humanity embraces it.

    That is why it matters. You need to be educated my boy. Schools out loooll

      1. lol no you are the one missing the point my child. Let Fidel Castro teach you that sports is:

        “the right of the people,”

        1. Yes by all means start every single one of your comments with a LOL. Never has it ever been implied or mentioned in the article nor in any comment I made that people have no right to sports, music or entertainment. You’re blabbering nonsense.

          Perhaps you are lost and are talking about a different article? Because you seem to have a world of your own. In local parlance, “may sariling mundo ka”.

      2. i think your kind is the one missing the point… yes majority of people who post on Facebook about this might be “nakikisakay lang” but dissing on the whole idea of rejoicing gilas victory is wrong… you might never understand this and you might call this bandwagon-ism… but gilas victory is actually called spiritual up-liftment to non pessimist. its not pinoy pride, not blind patriotism, its spiritual upliftment… have a nice day

        1. mcaguilar,

          Remind if and when this “spiritual upliftment” directly translates to a reduction in poverty and crime, elevation of the country’s standard of living, and overall prosperity of the country.

    1. LOL your comment perfectly describes the mentality of Filipinos that needs to be changed. Ignoring what’s important for the sake of entertainment…the very ideology behind students preferring to play Dota than attend classes. The very reason why politicians can easily take people’s money because they’re not watching, because their eyes are fixated to shits that doesn’t matter. It’s like you’re saying that almost all Filipinos have Attention Deficit Disorder…they need to be constantly entertained. I’m not saying it’s wrong to seek amusement…but tone it down & don’t make it life’s priority.

      1. LOL so if money and material wealth accumulation is the end product, why does rich people commit suicide more than the poor people.

        1. Jeez you’re laughing too much like a hyena. You need some medication you crazy Lebron fanboy. Nurse, prepare your straight jacket and tie this idiot.

        2. do you have actual statistical figures to support that generalization? you might be surprised how many poor people kill themselves to end their misery. the only reason why it’s not plastered all over the media is, you guessed it, no one cares for the “poor”.

    2. What makes life worthwhile is to see that sports victories are meaningless and ethical lives without all this sports hype and other hype are more meaningful. Tell me something else you need to school me in, and if a little team victory is really worthwhile for human interest.

    3. @ Michael Lebron (LOL)

      “Are people interested in GDPs, GNPs, and other economic figures? No …. but sports, music, entertainment, humanity embraces it.”

      That’s like saying, billions of flies eat shit, so it must be good.

      And since you are quoting Castro; he actually said it “should” be the right of the people, not that it is the right. And he was referring to the fact that sports used to be for rich people only and not the poor. So if you quote other people to sound like a smartass, then do the research first if what you quote is even in the right context.

  2. you know what?.. your kind of negative mindset is the reason why Philippines is failing…Gilas has displayed great determination and perseverance despite their disadvantage when compared to other teams. Yes, sports may have less impact to economy but in a country where people are loosing hope due to poverty and corruption, small achievements by the people’s idolized sportsmen can give them hope and uplift them, they can learn that despite all the odds, with much determination and perseverance, we can rise and make things better….and you are one of the people that fail to recognise that, thats why you are also one of the weights that brings the country down.

    here’s to you, giving a piece of my mind..

    1. People who are really determined will find hope in other ways regardless if Gilas existed or not.

      I mean why do Filipinos depend so much on a basketball team to build a truly prosperous society? If anything, each game or each win Gilas has is another excuse for Filipinos to waste away their savings on drinking and partying.

      Let’s get real. Filipinos are so enamored with a false sense of positivity that any criticism, no matter how valid, is mistaken for negativity.

      Can’t stop your addiction to nonsense and self-delusion? Why don’t stop smoking whatever it is you’re smoking and sober up! You might begin to see things with a clearer perspective.

    2. Never denied we can rise and make things better. The thing is, after this victory, the people who are celebrating it en grande are often the ones to sink back and do nothing. So what is the weight that really brings this country down?

    3. Oh please is clinging someone’s own goals and achievements makes you not only a great Filipino but also show this country a massive progress you positive pushing imbecile? That’s the problem with palamunins like you: you’re still looking for heroes when in fact YOU can be one of them by moving your ass and make your own goals and achievements. Now you start with that “selfishness” rebuttal excuse, you’re a point-missing moron.

  3. Hi,

    I’ve been follower for quite some time. And I know that sooner or later, I would leave a comment in one of your articles.

    I do agree that it is a bit disturbing seeing how most Filipinos try to claim the glory and achievement of their fellow Filipino. Sure, personally, I don’t think that there is nothing wrong to take pride and joy on our fellow kababayan’s achievement to a certain point. But to ask for respect and recognition for something that they didn’t do is another. Could it be that most of us just can’t simply see how much discipline, sacrifice and dedication it took for the likes of Pacquiao, Lea Salonga etc. We are mislead to believe that they got to where they are right now simply because they were gifted, hence it was easier for them. I’ve seen some of their documentaries and usually, it all starts with their humble beginnings without the emphasis of how much failures they had to endure before they got to where they are right now. Fair enough, we were lead to believe that it can be done, and it ca be. They just forgot to remind us how it should be done.

    It is commendable, that after how many years, the Philippines was able to make its presence felt in FIBA. And I wonder how our fellow countrymen and women would react in the next international tournament now that we are not to be taken lightly. Not to take away anything anyway from the Gilas Team, but we have to acknowledge the possibilities that the international teams that were bracketed in our group expected us to just roll over and play dead. We did catch them by surprise and they were not prepared for that. That would be their fault and not ours.

    More often than not, we all recognize the rewards of being a winner and a champion, and I doubt if no one aspires to be one. We would often hear Filipinos talk about what they are worth and what they deserve. But somehow most Filipinos often just settle for things to be just as it is because we are too afraid and sometimes too lazy to take the righteous path because let’s face it, it can be hard. And when things get too hard or when we are asked to do better, most of us would perceive it as prejudice and “pang-aapi”, rather than take time to reflect and ask ourselves how can we do better, instead of just pointing fingers and envying others. We are emotionally immature, impatient, too sensitive, too insecure, too dramatic giving us a misconception on how life really is.

    PUSO, a battle cry we proudly chanted during the FIBA tournament which I take as a good sign of hope for our country. However, one can’t help but see the irony of that chant. Though we are naturally born with a very passionate and loving heart, it can be very fragile and disheartened easily. We often forget that to love comes with pain, and those are the moments where our endurance are truly tested. Those are the moments when where we get to show our characters, who we can be and become. I’ve always believe that we are better than that, but I guess the question is are we all willing to start from scratch?

    The current mentality is not even a plague anymore but has become a way of life in our country. I say this with a heavy heart knowing that the prognosis is dire and that it would take more than just our voices to solve this endless cycle. I still have faith for this country knowing that if everybody was just pointed at the right direction, what we can achieve as individuals and as a nation seems boundless.

    1. There are over sensitive Filipinos who get butt hurt so easily because of half assed Pinoy pride… at the other end of the spectrum are these self-proclaimed enlightened pinoys who just have to find fault in everything just because they think they’re smarter than anyone else. Kahit mag champion pa yung Gilas gagawa at gagawa pa rin yan ng ganyang “article”.

    2. Never bought that PUSO thing, we can support Gilas without it. Best support fans can do is RESPECT THE OPPOSING TEAM. Without good opponents, the Gilas team might was well play with their own shadows.

  4. There are over sensitive Filipinos who get butt hurt so easily because of half assed Pinoy pride… at the other end of the spectrum are these self-proclaimed enlightened pinoys who just have to find fault in everything just because they think they’re smarter than anyone else. Kahit mag champion pa yung Gilas gagawa at gagawa pa rin yan ng ganyang “article”

  5. I guess the writer explained his point well. He acknowledged the win of Gilas/UP, but also stressed that these “victories” really do not reflect the overall sense of true pride in this country. After the win, and the celebrations thereafter, what happens next? Has traffic or the MRT management brouhaha been resolved as a result of our teams winning for our country? Will corrupt people in government learn anything from Gilas, or will they even be more determined to out-maneuver the laws of the land and plunder billions -if not trillions- of pesos from the country’s coffers? Nothing has changed, except that we felt a little “sense of pride” for our kababayans to win in honor of our country. It was a glimpse at glory, and we feel proud. Well, good for them… but for the rest of us -especially those in power- what now? What do we really need to do to feel like that for ourselves, our family, our community, our nation? Are we truly “proud” of our lives in this country at all?

    1. Will Gilas follow up a win with another win? When Gilas loses, will Filipino stupid barbarians flood the opponents’ Internet pages with insults and hate comments? That will only prove the Filipino as NO CLASS rather than world class.

    -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. ”

    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

    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 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
    – 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.

  7. So, you’ve enumerated those line ups, sir Dale, what were the highest achievements they’ve gotten, then, though, I’ve seen them all but just for the sake of those readers younger than us or may have somehow forgot about these, already. Thanks, sir.

  8. Gilas has nothing to do with the economy. We all know that basketball is there just for an entertainment, so it’s irrelevant to relate this to the sorry state of the nation. The Philippines was still one of the richest countries in Asia way back in 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s even it lost a lot in sports to other countries that time. It was still the reigning tiger economy, envied and respected by other Asian countries regardless of winning or losing international sports competition. A sport is a sport. As well as singing contest and beauty pageant has its own category that has nothing to do with economy’s rise and fall. Leave those enthusiasts who like to show their support to the sports they like because that is what they love to see and spend their time with. This is a free country.

    We don’t need to relate all the activities of the Filipinos to our economy. We can identify the problem with every issue separately and give our solution to it, respectively. We have to admit that the Philippines cannot excel in every sport she joined in, neither those rich countries like USA and Japan with vast resources. They are also not winners of all the sports they joined in even with proper funding, constant training, years of preparation, and no “pwede na yan” mentality of all their players, still other countries may somehow come up better in the end.

    Human factor could matter a lot in sports as well. We have boxing and billiard heroes who did not get a lot of financial support from our government and yet they continue to excel in the world competition against other excellent nationalities. I guess we just have to appreciate these people while they are there. Not all Filipinos can be as talented as them. They have unique abilities that other Filipinos, who indulged in that same sports, cannot emulate their skills at the same level.

    1. And here come’s jigs the dakilang mangongontra. How much did malakanyakanyang paid you this time you troll? And still not smart with that victim mentality of yours eh dimwit?

    2. Yun naman pala eh. If sports doesn’t relate to the economy, it’s not connected to the national fortune (as in, fate). So the fantards should stop treating it as if it’s the greatest thing in the world. It’s not. It’s “just a sport.” Insulting to sports fans, isn’t it, but Jigs’ post says that. I would agree with that point.

      1. It is just a sport but the team that was sent to that competition as well as those fans who supported it represent Philippine national flag as an identity.

        A win in basketball or any international sport which the Philippines vied brings honor and pride to that name of particular sport for our country.

        You can see the fans of other countries, they take pride when they joined an international sport competition. Win or Lose, they are there to support always. These sport’s enthusiasts also celebrate every small victory of their team and/or player/s. So, all sport fans in the world have that same common mentality, not only Filipinos.

        1. Here’s the problem I see: you win, you bring honor. OK. So if the team loses, they bring dishonor? If Filipinos think like that, then that is the problem. Honor comes from the team’s sportsmanlike behavior, not from winning or losing.

  9. “A guy who believes his greatest contribution to the universe is giving it a piece of his mind.”

    What an idiot. Puting the word universe and his mind together in a sentence is a complete travesty.

    And btw, i did not read your stupid assed article.

  10. How about you, have you asked yourself what have you done for the country? Do you think your great or good enough? Or maybe for many, you’re the perfect example of “mediocre”? LOL

    1. TROLL. 😛

      Well, how about YOU? What you did is just promoting IGNORANCE. You’re the perfect example of MEDIOCRE due to your hit-and-run tactics.


        1. If someone here is Mr. Troll, it’s you kid. And your lack of logic and intelligence is showing it.

          Hit-and-run tactics is also a sign of trolling. You lost this argument altogether.

        2. “How about you, have you asked yourself what have you done for the country? Do you think your great or good enough?”

          In fact, mostly ignorant and delusional Pinoy plebs say that and yes, it’s a form of trolling. So your efforts are futile, son.

    2. Oh, that’s “loser’s retort.” What have you done for the country. Thrown because the guy has no useful point to make.

      But I’ll oblige. I guess what I’ve done is to not be one of those losers who troll the pages of Gilas’ opponents who win. Big thing, I’d say. 😉

  11. If you don’t like the #LabanPilipinasPuso ideology then why the hell do you keep yourself updated? Why bother yourself and create this crab shit? Doesn’t make any sense.
    “You don’t know about real loss because it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” – Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting

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