The day is saved. Thanks to SAP Bong Go.
The Philippines is sending a men’s basketball team to the Asian Games after all and it took the intervention of a big basketball fan in the President’s most trusted man to convince the country’s basketball leaders to just do it.
Go, who grew up in Davao playing backyard basketball as a young boy, couldn’t take the Asiad go by without the Philippines in the basketball tournament–win or lose.
“I want them to know that it doesn’t matter whether they win or lose. The most important thing is to assemble a team and unite the country in supporting the national team,” Go said in a statement emailed on Monday to the media. “We want to show the entire world that we are fighting – and we would do it despite all kinds of trial and challenges.”
He stressed that the national tea, should not be pressured to win as the odds are high in the tournament where the country finished seventh four years ago.
“Again, we are not obligated to win. We are obligated to keep trying and do our best everyday. This is Filipino pride. And nothing unites Filipinos of every social class more than what happens on the basketball court.I love this game.We all love this game.”
Go, a streak-shooting guard not only playing in executive level tournaments but also listed as a player in the newly-formed Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), was in high spirts on Monday as he announced that the Philippine Basketball Association and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas already reached an agreement and decided that we would be sending a team to the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
“This is the result of my previous discussion with both groups who both agreed to consider our desire of sending a team to the prestigious quadrennial tournament. It’s going to be a wasted opportunity if we will not send a team,” he said.
Go’s intervention sprang from his love of the sport. There is no political undercurrents.
“Basketball is in the heart of the Filipinos. So it is very regrettable if we will not send a team that will represent us in this prestigious competition,” he said.
Go also emphasized the support of the President not only to the basketball team but also to the entire Philippine delegation which will try to improve on a 22nd place finish with a solitary gold medal in 2014 courtesy of bmx rider Daniel Caluag.
“The entire Philippine delegation is assured the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is behind it all the way. We’re here to cheer and support the Filipino athletes who would compete to bring pride and honor to the country,” he added.
With the two-week clamor for SBP to reconsider its decision over, Go was thankful at the change of heart.
“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to SBP president Al Panlilio, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and PBA commissioner Willie Marcial. Also, special thanks to SBP chairman emeritus Manny Pangilinan and San Miguel Corp. CEO Ramon Ang,” Go said.