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Even the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is still grieving up to now. He just can’t get over it that fast.
As I said, we can lose all the golds but not the basketball gold. It’s like seeing all your rivals take the girl of your dreams in all the dance numbers of the night—save for the last dance which is exclusively reserved for you. If someone dares to take that dance away from you, all hell may yet explode on the dance floor. It’s that scary.
And so, move over, fellas. Give way to Al S. Panlilio, the well-meaning SBP chieftain, as he pours his heart out over the debacle our Gilas Pilipinas squad had suffered in the just-ended 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Short of saying our 85-81 loss to Indonesia that snapped our 33-year men’s 5x5 basketball reign in the region is totally unacceptable, my Tukayo Al was man enough to accept “full responsibility” for the setback that gave Indonesia its first ever SEA Games men’s basketball gold. Here’s Tukayo Al’s lament:
“We at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas share the disappointment of our Filipino basketball fans and take full responsibility with the results of our 31st Southeast Asian Games campaign. We apologize that we fell short and were not able to give our teams better support they needed to retain the gold. There are no excuses and we learned valuable lessons. We will bounce back and reclaim our spot to stay ahead.”
What added salt to injury was our two other defeats in the men’s 3x3 basketball and women’s 3x3 basketball, giving us a dismal result of one gold (women’s 5x5 basketball) against three defeats in the event’s three other categories of the biennial meet.
One good thing about Tukayo Al is, he was honest enough to admit at not being “able to give our teams better support...”
Even Chot Reyes, the losing coach of the men’s 5x5 team, owned up the failure, saying tersely: “It’s on me.”
Where did we actually fail, specifically in the 5x5 gold clash with Indonesia?
We crammed in our preparation, we didn’t have the correct combination of players and, yes, we didn’t scout Indonesia that much. In short, we acted complacent—complacency being the first cousin of overconfidence.
Oftentimes, lessons are learned the hard way.