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BY RHODA GARZON-CAMPILLAN
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WE ARE the basketball kings of Southeast Asia once more. Gilas Pilipinas took home the gold medal in men’s basketball in the Southeast Asia Games.
So many have been said about the victory but one thing is for sure, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from that tournament.
Number one lesson is hard work. There is no such thing as a free lunch. You have to work hard to achieve your goals. The boys had difficulty winning over Thailand and Singapore. Both teams were strong and came in prepared for the competition. However, our boys worked doubly hard to overcome the battles. They created collaborative plays, rebounded like there was no tomorrow, and defended their turfs strongly.
Number two lesson is sacrifice. If one is willing to give up something for the other to gain or rise is such a beautiful sight to behold. Everyone wanted to be in the spotlight. However, if you watched their games, the boys were willing to give unselfish assists to their teammates. Like in the case of Christian Standhardinger; he had an accurate shot in the paint. If you handed him the ball, he would make sure to put it inside the ring. However, in some of their plays particularly against Singapore and even Malaysia, even if he knew he could shoot the ball all by himself, he tried to look for the open man and gave the credit to his teammate.
Kobe Paras’ impressive slams would not be possible without the cooperation and sacrifice of his teammates. You see, it is sacrifice that will really put you at the top.
Number three lesson is prayers create miracles. Before the game, the team never forgot to offer a prayer. They acknowledged the fact that their talents came from Someone supreme. They knew in their hearts that they won’t be able to reach their goals if they just relied in their human capacities. They needed guidance and support from the Big Man above. Their prayers included shielding their teammates from injuries and for them to win the game to make their motherland proud.
Number four lesson is never underestimate your opponents. In their game against Myanmar, even if they knew they were winning, still they kept on playing defensively. They continued to create plays that put them in the offensive advantage. In short, they were never complacent. As what Coach Jong Uichico said, respect your opponents. In that game, Kobe Paras exploded. His confidence leveled up and made him a very happy and satisfied player. All because he and his teammates never stopped playing excellently regardless who their challengers were.
Number five lesson is, it feels good to do something good for the country. We must admit that our country is experiencing trying times. The war in Marawi is non-stop, alleged extrajudicial cases are rising, and crimes are everywhere. In an article published by Sports5ph, the writer said winning basketball in an international tournament will not solve crimes, resolve poverty, and put Philippine society in order; however, it will somehow put smiles on the faces of the weary. They will be able forget even just for a few seconds the sorry state they are in.
Yes, I know the happiness is temporary but the feeling of pride and jubilation will forever be etched in the Filipinos’ memory forever.
And the last lesson is, singing the national anthem will never be the same again. Why am I saying this? I watched the awarding ceremonies of Gilas and after they were given gold medals, the national anthem of the Philippines was played. Even if I am not at the MABA stadium, I was singing the Pambasang Awit wholeheartedly. There was a sense of pride knowing that your country was given recognition. There was an unexplainable feeling inside of me while the Filipino contingent was singing proudly.
It was just another international basketball competition but the lessons in that event are rich. Going beyond the games and trying to analyze the real significance of the victory makes me smile and somehow proud of myself.
To Gilas Pilipinas, congratulations and continue to inspire the Filipino people to pursue their passions in life.
Mabuhay kayo! ([email protected]/PN)