MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang on Tuesday appealed to Filipinos to continue supporting the Philippine national basketball team playing in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Seville, Spain.
"Patuloy nating suportahan ang kampanya ng koponang Gilas Pilipinas sa 2014 FIBA World Cup Basketball Championship. Tunay na kahanga-hanga ang ipinapakitang husay at tapang ng mga manlalarong Pilipino bagamat kalaban nila ay higit na malaki at matangkad na mga manlalaro" said Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Coloma, himself a basketball fan, said they are still hoping that Gilas Pilipinas will have a fighting chance in its last two remaining games.
The Philippines fought valiantly but suffered defeat against higher-ranked teams in its first three games against Croatia, Greece and Argentina.
Gilas is set to meet Puerto Rico and Senegal in its last assignments of the group stage.
"Kapag nagwagi ang Gilas Pilipinas sa kanilang huling dalawang laro, may pag-asa ang pangkat nating mabilang sa apat na koponan mula sa Group B na magtutunggali sa susunod na bahagi ng kompetisyon -- ang Round of 16, na susundan ng quarter-finals, semi-finals, at finals sa paraang knockout o direct elimination," said Coloma.
Coloma's side as a sports analyst surfaced in Tuesday's press briefing as he described the fighting chance of Gilas Pilipinas.
"May laban pa tayo. Pwede pa tayong mag-qualify sa Round of 16. Pangalawa, anong klaseng odds ang ating kinakalaban dito given 'yung ranking natin na number 34. Halos tinalo natin 'yung rank 20 na Croatia, [three] points lang ang talo natin in overtime. Iyon namang Greece na rank 5 naman iyon. Hindi naman kahiya-hiya ang performance natin. Iyong Argentina na rank number 3, one point lang ang kalamangan sa atin 'nung huling isang minuto; only the breaks of the game decided it," said Coloma.
Coloma believes that every Filipino basketball fan will agree with his assessment that there is still adequate reason for the country to cheer for Gilas Pilipinas.
Malacanang also said the Aquino administration is doing everything it can to push for the development of Philippine sports through the Philippine Sports Commission.
Coloma also expressed gratitude for the active participation of the private sector in supporting the athletes.