Thursday, September 04, 2014

Fair Play: Here's hoping Gilas, Azkals win together

(UPDATE: This Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Sept. 4 edition was written before the Gilas vs. Puerto Rico and Azkals vs. Chinese Taipei matches. Gilas lost and the Azkals won.  It still was a magical and unforgettable night for Philippine sport.)

FOR some misguided passionate fans, you are either a basketball or football fan. I’ve seen some arguments over social media about such silly things.

I don’t really mind them as they are but a few. It’s just that sometimes, the argument spills over into the national team and folks point out why this team should have more support over that team.

Well, the truth is, when it comes to the national team--of any sport--it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or not, you support the team because the players are playing for the flag.

And last night, I think it’s quite apt that the most visible national team in the country—Gilas Pilipinas—was to take on Puerto Rico in search of its first win at 7:30, 30 minutes after the second-most visible national team, the Azkals, face Chinese Taipei in the Peace Cup.

If you watched both games simultaneously, bravo. No one will accuse you of supporting two sides at the same time. Lest you forget, both Azkals and Gilas are our national teams and I hope both will be positive examples to those who will be watching them.

For sure, Gilas’ showing in the World Cup—basketball’s biggest stage—is rubbing off some positive vibes towards the Azkals.

Compared to other national teams, Gilas may be well-funded and well-quipped, but compared to the other teams in the World Cup, our basketball squad is at a disadvantage against teams which have NBA players in the lineup.

But what happened? You have guys like Jimmy Alapag, who at 36 and at a generous 5’9” is too old and too short to be competing against the world’s best, taking Argentina to school with his treys from the parking lot.

Something magical happens when you suit up for the flag. You defy the odds. Gilas is showing that, I hope the Azkals too.

It just kind of inspires us to want to do well as well...They’re competing against the best teams in the world, and that’s where we want to be...To have that kind of recognition is what we want. That’s hugely inspiring to the guys,” said Azkals team captain Rob Gier, who started with the Azkals at a time when only a few could associate it with the national team.

The Azkals and Gilas, each with their own odds to overcome, was set to face separate foes last night.

Wouldn’t it be great if both win?

What an unforgettable night it would be.

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