It’s not just the players in the Gilas Pilipinas program who sacrifice most of the time for national cause.
Just ask their families.
If the Gilas seniors — or the Elite team, as head coach Chot Reyes has coined it — know adversity, Batang Gilas knows sacrifice.
“They’re doing something people can only dream about,” said the veteran internationalist.
“Every time we talk to these young men, being in Batang Gilas, being part of the Gilas program gives them an opportunity to tell their story and have their story be part of history, the history of Philippine basketball.”
Which is true, knowing that this particular team is comprised of 15 and 16-year-olds who could’ve been at home and at school doing teenager things. But they chose to be away from their families, friends, and all the perks of being a teen just to serve the country overseas.
“We have players from the team who live in Tagyatay, Muntinlupua, parents had to work double time to get them to practice and back home,” Reyes pointed out.
“These are the stories, sacrifices that people outside the team do not know.”
Batang Gilas recently went to China for the FIBA U-16 Asian Championships. It was a fruitful trip, as they went home with a ticket to the U-17 World Cup.
The sacrifices, indeed, paid off.
And they have their families to thank.
For Batang Gilas’ Mac Guadaña, he couldn’t be grateful enough for the support he got from his family for keeping up with his chosen track.
The six-foot combo guard and his family are the perfect example of what kind of sacrifice Batang Gilas had to face when needed — all for the country.
The Lyceum High School standout and his relatives, during the team’s weeks-long preparations, had to endure hours-long trips to the Meralco Gym in Pasig City just to be able to train.
Guadana hails from Tagaytay, so imagine the tedious travel time he had to face every day just to report for duty.
“Sobrang thankful din ako sa lola ko at sa mga tita ko kasi start yung training ng 8 ng gabi, matatapos ng mga 10, so makakauwi na kami mga 12:30,” disclosed the 16-year-old.
“Kaya sobrang thankful ko kasi araw-araw din silang puyat, kaya sobrang pasalamat din ako sa suportang binibigay nila.”
And that is why the 2017 SEABA Under-16 champion, who averaged 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in the tournament, dedicates his and the Batang Gilas’ achievement in the Asian Championships to his parents.
“Oo, siyempre. Unang-una pa rin kay Lord. Pero bibigay ko rin sa parents ko, kasi talagang grabe rin yung support nila,” Guadana said.
“Sila din talaga yung dahilan.”