Filipino pride and ego delivered NOTHING to Gilas Pilipinas

Post brawl Pinoy Pride: Gilas tream members commemorate their brawl vs the Aussies with a team selfie.

A common argument I’ve been seeing directed at people who dare write about Filipino-style basketball in a critical way comes in the form of this statement…

You probably don’t play basketball so you won’t understand where we are coming from.

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Funny that. If there is anything more bizarre than Filipino exceptionalism, it is Filipino Basketball Exceptionalism.

As far as one can easily tell, whether one plays basketball or not does not constitute bar nor license to writing about basketball any more than the notion that being or not being a politician makes one a better or incompetent political writer. In fact, we can go further to suggest that there really is nothing special about an ability to play basketball — because most Filipinos, from street tambays to elite competitive athletes, and even up to politicians, lawyers, rocket scientists, soldiers, moms and dads, and people from all forms of sexual orientation and gender can play basketball.

In short, there is nothing special about being able to play basketball and, as such, no notion of exclusivity in the club of its players and those who can talk about it, write about it, and criticise it. What perhaps these basketball exceptionalists mean is Filipino-style basketball. In that I am inclined to agree. Only Filipinos can play Filipino-style basketball. And this is the sort of basketball that was at play the other day just before the brawl between Gilas Pilipinas and the Australian team broke out.

Gilas was already losing to the Aussies, and many observers pointed out that they were losing because they were playing Basketball à la Filipina — possibly thanks to (1) the mediocre Cold War Era coaching of their chief coach Chot Reyes and (2) the tambay mentality that forms the very core DNA of Filipino-style basketball. Worse, the epic brawl that transpired was, according to die-hard fans, done in the name of “Pinoy Pride” and applying a mind only true “basketball people” would understand. They justify the intent, but the results tell a different story. The Aussies went on to win the game. Ultimately, that is what will be on record as far as FIBA’s historical account is concerned.

The bottom line here is that whatever the Aussies did, it worked and delivered results. They won the game with the added bonus of making Gilas Pilipinas (and Filipino basketball fandom) look like a bunch of cavemen to the international community. That’s what people who are easily provoked to anger at the slightest slight get. In this instance, the Filipino cagers and their groupies walked into a trap set (deliberately or inadvertently, we will never know) by the Australian team. Filipinos were outflanked — bombed from an angle they never even knew existed. They lost sight of the objective, which is to score more points than the enemy. This is another instance where “pride” and ego delivered nothing.

As far as the game itself is concerned, there is really not much for sport writers to work with. The Gilas-Australia game that was transpiring before the brawl erupted was not only unremarkable, it was a complete disgrace for the Philippine team in terms of the quality of play they put up against the Aussies. But the broader social behaviours observed and the sentiments expressed as a result of the brawl evidently provides rich insight into the underbelly of the Filipino psyche. Proof of this is the fact that this article is the fifth consecutive one on the topic in just two days.

Filipinos should take this opportunity to learn some lessons from this quaint fracas and use that learning to build a bit more character. The alternative is to continue looking for “outside forces” to blame their failure on which is the road Filipinos have been on since independence was granted them by the United States in 1946.

8 Replies to “Filipino pride and ego delivered NOTHING to Gilas Pilipinas”

  1. John Maxwell in his book The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork talks about the law of the scoreboard. A concept the tambays should read if they indeed can read books. I love how the same people who accuse GRP of being butthurt never once bring up the scoreboard. The scoreboard was never brought up when Noynoy ran for president. The scoreboard was altered twice during the presidency of Noynoy. One when he bribed 50 million per yes vote illegally. The other when he made the scoreboard operator of the 2016 elections disappear into the US . Forget the scoreboard. Just talk about puso and laban and take selfies.

  2. Yes, the pinoy talk about pride. Where is their pride for their country?? Walk along any street and see the mounds of TRASH just thrown anywhere. Pinoy Pride. I just don’t see it. False Pride might be more accurate. That is why I do not drink with Pinoys because if I say something that slights them in any way it could be dangerous for my health.

  3. I guess FIlipinos believe that they have to brawl for their pride. But it means they don’t understand what pride is.

    You know, about claiming the you don’t have a right to write about basketball if you’re not a player, coach or fan, well, think about art dancing, like the modern dance of Martha Graham, et al. There are other choreographers who are not dancers. They just plan the moves, others dance and they know what they’re doing.

    If only players and coaches are allowed to comment, they’ll obviously be for the team they work for, they are biased for or related. Well, that’s the idea why you need outsiders to comment, to avoid bias. That’s why critics of the modern dance I described above don’t have to be dancers or choreographers themselves. They’re the audience, so they have the right to critique.

    I myself have another article coming up that’s related to this issue again.

  4. I could not help but laugh listening to the shrill voice of Quinito Henson, the official speaklouder of the PBA masquerading as journalist for Philstar, a boadsheet allegedly owned by a foreigner whose rep here is a guy Quinito calls boss get so excited that I think the usual bias narrative turned somewhat into short of condemning the visitors while absolving the locals. The PBA is a big joke. It is more of an inter division sports intramurals between Metro Pacific and SMC and with some guest teams to add more busy bodies. And intramural teams dont win games in international competition.

    1. The play by play / color duo of any broadcast actually are a mirror of the audience they are trying to attract. It is important to connect to their audience. Hence the liberal use of emo. When it comes to the national team here well they have so few highlights historically that they try to make the most out of anything that they can pass off as an achievement. They do that to make you forget the scoreboard.

  5. The failure to win a Basketball Game is not a reason to brawl. The Filipino team, simply lacks sportsmanship. If you lose, you lose. Your opponents in the Basketball court are better shooter; have better teamwork; and are in better condition.

    This has nothing to do with , “Filipino Pride”, which have been promoted by some , Filipinos, who have “Tambay Mentality”.

    Practice and have a better teamwork for the next time. Maybe in the next game , we will win.

  6. Like it says in the very Bible the book(s) Filipinos claim to worship and “abide” by: “Pride cometh before the fall”…
    What’s even worse than the kind of pride that is usually used, be it status or being better than others etc. is fake pride.
    Please Filipinos, wake up and ditch the destructive “Filipino Pride” syndrome, there’s still hope but it starts with the proud for nothing, insecure mentality that keeps you down and falling. Also stop crying over what people criticize about you and your country, because despite what your sensitive hearts think, those same people do more good for you than the people who constantly sugar coat and lie about it.
    The first step to change and being better is straight up just accepting the truth, but that false pride thing is going to take a lot of work.

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