Usual Monday quarterbacks
THIS is something that happens regularly especially on social media although the feedbacks from the usual Monday quarterbacks depends on the results, either good or bad.
I refer to the ongoing FIBA World Cup in China where Gilas Pilipinas lost by routs against world No. 13 Italy (67-126) and No. 4 Serbia (62-108) and lost in overtime against Angola (81-84).
As a Filipino basketball fan, my heart will always be hoping and wishing for our team to win regardless of opponent even as my mind tells me another thing especially if we are playing European countries who are way ahead of us.
In turn, I am saddened by the losses we suffered.
You see basketball has undergone a lot of changes globally but something will not change in the game. It is the fact that height and heft will always be a major factor. A taller team will always have a higher probability of winning.
I will accept that Filipino players have been growing taller, maybe a bit heftier, but as we do that, our opponents not just in Asia have also grown even taller and bigger than before.
Now, it becomes a never ending uphill battle for us to catch up with the world’s best basketball teams.
Now let us go back to the primary objective of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, that is, to be able to play again at the FIBA World Cup or Olympics level and business mogul Manny V. Pangilinan has been at the helm of this expensive program for quite some time.
So if that was the objective, just to qualify, then we have succeeded so what are we complaining about when we finally reached World Cup level?
Did we really expect for this team to go beyond that?
However, losing by a huge margin against Italy and Serbia is just too much for Pinoy basketball fans to handle. The team was bashed on social media and a lot of netizens suddenly became basketball experts.
I will never claim to be a basketball expert. I am simply taking things as realistically as possible as I have been trained in the corporate world.
You see companies also do their own business plans and set objectives, challenging themselves to do better than before.
And accompanying those objectives with action plans or what needs to be done to reach those objectives but always remaining pragmatic about the business situations and recognizing the uncontrollable factors and focusing on what we as a company can do on our own, subject to limitations like funding or resources or even lack of capability.
Now what we saw in China were the results and I will not blame the players there. They will always give their best even if it may not be enough.
I will not blame the coach who has to do with whatever resources are made available to him, and the time that he needs to prepare the team.
You tell me, did coach Yeng Guiao get the best team that he could have assembled if that was within his control? Did he get the necessary time to prepare the team, including a lot of international stints to prepare him and the players to play at the world level?
Have we really adapted to the way the game is played now at the international level where premium is put on crisp passes looking for the open man at all times and big men shooting from the three-point area.
There are times we try to adapt and play that style of basketball only to fall back on one-on-one style of playing ala NBA.
And by the way, look at how the USA team struggled against Turkey. That again tells us something.
So why would we blame the team at all?
Blame the PBA?
But then one reality that will not change is that the national team interest will be different from business interests, isn’t this the reason why the PBA bolted away from the old BAP in the mid-1970s?
So what’s the solution?
The answer will not come from me because the solution is actually known to all. We need to play like the Europeans and fill out our team with shooters. The question is are we really willing to adopt that solution?
The solution will not be easy. It may not even be popular. It will require a lot of sacrifice. And if ever we try to do it right next time, I am sure there will be negative reactions from who else but the Monday quarterbacks.
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