Bouncing back

After a lackluster performance in the Olympics, torrential rains and flooding, and the passing of a beloved government official; the country’s gloom was quite lifted with the news of the Philippine National Team Smart Gilas 2 winning the 34th installment of the Jones Cup. It was a sliver of light for a country grieving and reeling from a series of tragedies.

Named after Renato William Jones, one of the founders of the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur or FIBA; the tournament has been dominated by the Americans since its inaugural in 1977. The last time Filipinos brought home the gold was way back in 1998 with the star-studded Centennial Team.

With the issuance of a cardiac arrest in the championship game between the Philippines and the United States, the match became a testament to the trait of Filipinos in the face of stiff competition. It was all about going out there with the heart of the warriors of our lore. And we really fought and invoked their spirits. Despite having limited time to practice and jell as a team, Coach Chot Reyes took the commanding reins and steered his boys to victory. Hearing the flamboyant coach in the huddle is an act to behold with his quips and instant nuggets of wisdom imparted to players added to his mix of tactical approaches to the game. Noteworthy performances were delivered from different corners, but the best came from the versatile Gabe Norwood, clutch-time grenadier Gary David, and workhouse Marcus Douthit.

And of course, there was LA Tenorio. As the smallest guy on the floor, this 5’8 floor general casted the biggest shadow in the hearts of foreign opponents as he dropped long-bombs and dissected the opposing defense with his crisp passing and speed. LA came home with the Most Valuable Player award and he will continue reaping admiration for his heroics. He was quoted in saying that winning was not just about his team in the PBA, or his name, but it was for his country. And the country sure appreciates that especially during these times.

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