By ‘Lakwatserang Paruparo’
Let’s face it, basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines. Despite the average height of Filipinos compared to international basketball big league players, still one can often seen the game being played in almost every barangay in the country. Politicians even fancy giving basketballs and adorning courts with their donation of basketball rings and goals.
Little boys have dreamed of becoming another Jordan or Bryant or James of the NBA (National Basketball Association). Perhaps with the recent semi-finals win of our very own Gilas Pilipinas, every little Juan would now want to be another Alapag or Castro or Pingris or Aguilar.
The Gilas Pilipinas semi-finals win (as of this writing) will take them to the FIBA Fédération Internationale de Basketball) World Championship in 2014 in Spain. This was touted to be a win not just for the team but for our country as well. The professional players were no longer playing for their respective PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) teams but for Team Pilipinas. And truly they played with a big heart.
There might be those who would rain on this parade and ask what do they care. It was just a game. It’s just basketball. There is so much hullabaloo about it when there are other sport where the Filipino players also excel in. And there are a thousand and one things the country should focus on besides sports.
That is true.
But I see something different here.
The quest of Gilas Pilipinas for a berth in the FIBA World 2014 has landed them at least a second place finish, an improvement from the 4th place the Philippines had in the FIBA Asia in 2011. This has also assured them of going to Spain to play for the country. The victory has been sweet because it has wiped out a strong rival since the days of Shin Dong Pa, South Korea and put the Philippines back into world standing in basketball.
Thousands have trooped to the MOA (Mall of Asia) Arena to watch them live and cheer them on. Millions were glued to their tv sets to do the same. This is reminiscent of those Manny Pacquiao bouts. For a while, the Filipinos were ONE in cheering not just for Team Pilipinas but for our country as well. The tears that fell after the game were tears of joy for the Philippines.
If only we can also be united in exposing even more the evils of the pork barrel and bring to justice the perpetrators of the massive corruption that goes with it. If only we can block further schemes and cry foul louder. If only we can rebound from the harm it has done and regain our hard-earned taxpayers’ money. If only we can shoot solutions to the never-ending problems our country faces brought about by the deliberate fouls of greed and more greed. If only we can all stand, raise our hands and cheer on, “Laban, Pilipinas” against Team Corruption led by heartless and greedy politicians and public officials. If only Coach PNoy could lead us all into a victory that would put back the Philippines into the world map of true progress the way South Korea has placed itself in.
I am confident all is not lost. I am optimistic there is still that proverbial silver lining behind the dark clouds. I am positive despite all the evil that abound in our country we can still say, “Laban, Pilipinas, laban!”
In the end, we can still see Team Pilipinas…win!