The Philippines took home 52 gold medals during the recently-concluded 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Those mints came from 23 different events.
But the Philippines missed out on one — the gold that matters the most to Filipinos.
After a 33-year reign on top of the region, Gilas Men succumbed to Indonesia, 85-81, in the virtual gold medal match on the last day of the competition last Sunday.
And even Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino rued that defeat.
“Basketball, for me, sa akin lang, it’s a mortal sin. Matalo na yung iba, huwag lang yun,” Tolentino shared to PlayItRight TV.
It’s not just the men’s 5-on-5 team that was not able to defend the gold but also the men’s 3×3 team.
Many say that it should serve as a wake-up call to the country’s basketball stakeholders.
But Tolentino stressed that action should be taken.
“Hindi puwedeng it’s a wake-up call. Lagi na lang bang wake-up call? Every SEA Games is a wake-up call,” he continued.
“So, act on the wake-up call. Don’t belittle the other regions. They have naturalized players.”
It’s been almost a week since the Horror in Hanoi but the clamor of the people for change continues. Even the POC hears it loud and clear.
That is why Tolentino is hoping that concrete plans are made before it reaches Congress.
“Baka umabot yan sa senate at congress yan bakit natalo,” he said.
“Do we need a law na dapat priority ang national team? Kahit anong laro o schedule, dapat priority. Superceded ang mga contracts nila at mauna yung bansa.”