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Go, Gilas Pilipinas!

Basketball is one of the Filipinos’ favorite sports. Every barangay has a basketball court. Schools have basketball varsity teams, and even playrooms of baby boys have little basketball rings. Basketball is indeed a part of the lives of Filipinos both young and old.

I am a fan of basketball ever since I was a kid. I am an avid follower of Philippine Basketball Association stars, especially Alvin Patrimonio. His posters were all over my room and I watched his games all the time.

I tried to join the women’s basketball team during Intramurals. I did not excel in this sport but I didn’t care. I just loved the adrenalin rush and deafening cheers. I was not given a chance to really train in this sport but my heart belonged to basketball.

Now it is basketball season once more. Gilas Pilipinas is set to conquer the 39th William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan. Last Sunday, I was so happy to watch the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese Taipe Blue.
William Jones Cup is an international basketball tournament of FIBA Asia which started in 1977. The tournament was named in honor of basketball promoter Renato William Jones, one of the founders of the International Basketball Federation. Participating teams for this year are Lithuania, Chinese Taipei White, Chinese Taipei Blue, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and Canada.
Team Philippines gathered the best basketball players. The 2017 roster is composed of young and high-caliber players. They are Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Ed Daquioag, Kevin Ferrer, Fonzo Gotladera, Jio Jalalon, Raymar Jose, Kobe Paras, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Von Pessumal, Roger Pogoy, Keifer Ravena, Christian Standhardinger, Mike Tolomia, Almond Vosotos, Matthey Wright, and Mike Myers.
Majority of the players in the line- up are UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) stars. The team is led by no less than bemedalled athlete Keifer Ravena. In the court, you can see how Ravena shows overflowing passion and energy in basketball and in turn inspires his playmates to also give their best.
Gilas Pilipinas’ coach is Chot Reyes assisted by Jimmy Alapag.

The line-up shows so much promise because majority of them are young and passionate in the game they play. In an interview with ABS-CBN Sports, Keifer Ravena says their goal is to win and bring home the championship trophy.
RR Pogoy, on the other hand, sees this competition as a chance to gain experience and exposure, especially that majority of the players are cadets. There is so much hope that this competition will bring Philippine basketball to greater heights. Gilas won the Jones Cup way back in 2012 with LA Tenorio as MVP or Most Valuable Player.

I am hoping and praying that they will be able to bring home the bacon for our country. I have no doubt that they will be able to beat their opponents.
Basketball for me is more than a pastime. It is a kind of competition which inspires young people to excel in any endeavor they choose. This is a good diversion for the youth, especially now that they are faced with various bad influences like illegal drugs, wayward company, cigarettes, alcohol, sex and a lot more. If only the youth could find a sport they like and pour their energy into it. Who knows in the future, they will also be given a chance to represent the country and make the nation very proud.
Go Gilas Pilipinas, my support for the team is 100 percent. (rcampillan@usa.edu.ph/PN)

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