When the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Basketball Association announced their withdrawal from the 2018 Asian Games, there was an uproar from all fronts.
And two of the fans are high-ranking officials, namely Special Assistant to the President Bong Go and Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Allan Cayetano.
“Maraming tao ang dapat pasalamatan to make this possible,” said SBP president Al Panlilio during the joint SBP and PBA press conference held at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s a long list. We would like to thank MVP [Manny V. Pangilinan] for his guidance and counsel; sir Ricky Vargas; the PBA team owners – RSA [Ramon S. Ang], Dioceldo Sy, Raymond Yu, and Mikee Romero; sir Rod Franco for lending his coach; Alfrancis Chua and my fellow governors; commissioner Willie Marcial; POC sec gen Willie Marcial; and also SAP Bong Go and Secretary Allan Cayetano.”
“Resulta po ito ng pakikipag-usap ko sa dalawang grupo na kapwa naman maluwag na kinonsidera ang gusto natin na magpadala ng koponan sa nasabing palaro. Sayang po kasi ang pagkakataon ‘pag pinalampas natin,” said Go in a statement.
“Nakapanghihinayang po kasi na walang kakatawan sa Pilipinas sa basketball competition ng Asian Games lalo nasa puso ng halos bawat Pilipino ang larong basketball. “
Prior to this, there had been many proposals for the team that will be sent to the Asiad.
The TNT Katropa were first on the list, but with Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and RR Pogoy serving suspensions from FIBA, the SBP deemed that it would be immoral to send them.
Sunday afternoon, a consensus was made. Six players from Rain or Shine, two Gilas Cadets, and six players from different PBA clubs will compose the team.
“We also promise our basketball fans that we are not just sending a team but a team that they will be proud of,” expressed POC chairman Ricky Vargas.
The team will immediately begin its practices on Monday, August 6.
With this, the SBP and the PBA showed that the fans always come first.
“At the end of the day, para sa bayan ito.”
And the government is ready to support this team.
“Maaasahan ng Philippine delegates sa Asian Games ang buong suporta ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Nandito kami para suportahan ang mga manlalarong Pilipino na magdadala ng karangalan sa ating bansa,” added Go.