The Philippines is a country that lives and breathes basketball. In every street corner, you can see makeshift basketball courts where kids as low as seven years old play mean versions of Pinoy street basketball.
We love basketball so much, this in spite the fact that we are a nation not blessed with height and body type that is meant for a game where height is a main advantage. Whatever we lacked physically, we compensate with speed and cunning, more importantly, we compensate with heart. It may be a game played in the pro-leagues (called the Philippine Basketball Association or PBA) or even in the lowliest barangay. Players dribble their heart out and give intense plays, while fans will shout to the high heavens, and God forbid, will go into fights just for the sake of their team.
Filipinos, God bless them, may not blessed with height — but we are blessed with a passionate heart and undying spirit, which often times come handy when our basketball players are pushed against the wall. This can’t be more evident than with the ongoing FIBA Asia Championships, where in the semi-final round, the Philippines was able to subdue its long-time tormentor (and a great team) South Korea to enter the finals against unbeaten IRAN.
The Philippines also have a secret weapon: this time, the FIBA Asia championships is being held in the Philippines where each of their opponent can expect the presence of the dreaded “sixth man:” 20,000-strong Pinoy fans cheering their hearts out for their team. When Gilas won against Korea, Facebook and Twitter exploded with Pinoy Pride.
Congratulations to Gilas Pilipinas – for making our country very proud. Now onwards to the World Championship in Spain!