Fight till the end.
June Mar Fajardo, one of Gilas Pilipinas’ longtime cornerstones, vowed that he and his teammates would continue to give their all for the country despite the uncertainties and challenges regarding their Asian Games campaign.
The 19th Asiad, hosted by China, will have its opening ceremony today (Sunday), while Gilas will open their pool play on Tuesday.
However, the final lineup of the Nationals is yet to be decided due to certain issues as of Friday evening after Gilas’ 86-81 win over KBL club team Changwon LG at the Philsports Arena.
“Syempre kailangan pa rin natin maglaro sa Asian Games,” quipped Fajardo, who has represented the country in the past three editions of the FIBA World Cup.
“Pagsubok lang iyon, kailangan nating lagpasan iyon.”
Just last Tuesday, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced in a press conference that it had added Chris Ross, Kevin Alas, Arvin Tolentino, and CJ Perez for the continental showpiece.
This comes as Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Mo Tautuaa, Jason Perkins, and Stanley Pringle were all not part of the 37-man list that the SBP initially submitted to the Asian Games.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino, however, pledged to fight for the inclusion of the five players.
During Gilas’ tune-up game against the Sakers, it was the quartet of Ross, Tolentino, Perez, and Alas who suited up. Marcio Lassiter was also a late replacement in the two-week-old squad as Roger Pogoy had to withdraw due to medical reasons.
Fajardo shared moments after their victory against the Korean team that all 18 of them really wanted to play and represent the country in the Asian Games.
“Lahat talaga gusto maglaro sa Asian Games. Lahat gusto maglaro.”
Aside from the six-time PBA MVP and the five newcomers, the other six players who played against the Sakers were Scottie Thompson, Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome, Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, and Ange Kouame.
But the question of who will be the 12 players in uniform come September 26 against Bahrain is still unanswered, with only three days remaining before tipoff.