Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | August 23, 2007

An open letter from Tokushima

It was two days after a devastating loss to Jordan. The members of the RP-San Miguel team were having dinner with the rest of the Philippine delegation. The mood was lighter.

Two days before, you would have thought this was a different team you were looking at.

Cocooned in the privacy of their dugout at the spanking Asty Tokushima gymnasium, these same players, who were now enjoying a light dinner of sushi, sashimi, tempura and all those uncooked edibles made famous by this country supposedly shaped by the blade of the samurai, were sobbing.

The Olympic dream, nurtured for five months while cramming in a bid to snatch a cameo role at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was reduced to a rubble of missed baskets, uncompleted defensive stops and lack of international composure.

Here, in a dinner hosted by basketball officials, they managed to smile and laugh. They had just come from a practice where they prepared for their match against the much-maligned Chinese Team B, whose Great Wall aura of invincibility was stripped in a tournament that unmasked the country’s Team B as nothing more than a house of cards.

And they refused to be emotional zombies going into that match.

So I took the opportunity to ask them a question: If you were to write an open letter to the 80 million Filipino basketball fans who share your heartache, what would you tell them? And I put their answers all on video.

(If you clicked the link to their practice, you would know by now that I couldn’t figure out a way to embed the videos here. So I will be directing you to the site where I stored them.)

So, basketball fans, as a long-delayed apology here in video is what RP Team members Asi Taulava, Danny Seigle, Dondon Hontiveros, Eric Menk, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Jimmy Alapag, Jayjay Helterbrand, Kelly Williams, Kerby Raymundo, Mark Caguioa, Mick Pennisi, Ranidel de Ocampo, Renren Ritualo and Tony dela Cruz had to say to you.

Oh yes, Ranidel, James and Tony were cut from the final 12-man roster, but I included their thoughts as well.

* * *

Yes, I’ve been a delinquent blogger (again). But during and after the coverage of the Fiba Asia men’s basketball championship in Tokushima, Japan, where the Philippines finished 9th in a field of 16 squads, I was left both physically and emotionally winded.

I had been chasing the RP Team’s bid to regain a lofty standing in the Asian region since 1998, when I accompanied the Centennial Team coached by Tim Cone to the Thailand Asian Games.

I was among those who watched in shock as Lee Sang-Min’s triple beat the buzzer and gave host team South Korea a 67-66 victory over the Philippines, denying the country a chance to play against the Yao Ming-led Chinese squad in the finals of the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

And then came the Tragedy in Tokushima.

The country needed to win the title to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. Instead, it crashed out right in the preliminary round.

This chasing is getting a little bit tiring, even for a basketball romantic like me who believes—still—that the country can be an Asian powerhouse again. Someday. In this lifetime.

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Responses

  1. You think we should abandon the US style of basketball? Kahit ang US, they’re being humbled. I watched the US-Venezuela game and although Venezuela lost by 40 points, they had their moments. Nakakalusot kahit paano yung players ng Venezuela. It was sheer individual talent that won the game for the US, not so much their teamwork.

  2. even the US should abandon the US type of game. it’s not that it’s passe or outmoded. it’s just that the international basketball federation will never adopt nba rules for its tournaments. the pba should work itself toward playing with the international rules. maybe, for marketing purposes, they could retain a few of the nba rules like 12-minute quarters and six fouls. And the longer three-point line. but otherwise, the pba should start forcing teams to play with international rules para masanay na tayo. tapos dapat lahat ng leagues para uniform na ang understanding ng rules. do you know that the top three amateur leagues in the country–the pbl, the uaap and the ncaa–use different variations of the international rules? no wonder confused tayo pag naglalaro sa labas.

    sigh…

    hehehehehe, nag rant eh no?

  3. O puso mo, hehehe. Heartbreaking naman talaga yung FIBA-Asia trip ng Team Philippines eh. Iran had its worst night nung kalaban natin sila, tapos we failed to take advantage of that pa, tsk, tsk, tsk. Sayang na sayang.

  4. […] Boy from Smallville Everybody flies back home at some point. « An open letter from Tokushima Japan and a homecoming shock August 25th, 2007 OKAY, so there I was. A day after waking […]


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