THE GILAS PILIPINAS men were all over the headlines after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his belief that the Philippines has no chance to succeed in the FIBA World Cup, but the team itself is unflustered.
Word reached the Gilas Pilipinas players and coaching staff, who are in the middle of training camp in Spain, through social media. Head coach Yeng Guiao heard the President but says the team is not bothered by his remarks.
“It doesn’t really bother us,” Guaio said. “I guess you just have to take that from a positive point of view, your attitude should be positive. We should be able to just keep believing in ourselves.” President Duterte also said that he would rather bet on China in international basketball’s showpiece event. According to Guiao, the entire team took that as a challenge to perform well beyond Duterte’s expectations. “We look at it as a challenge. The best approach is to look at it as a challenge, just keep believing in what you can do,” Guiao said.
As for Gilas Pilipinas’ chances in the tournament, Guiao previously stated that he hoped to catch Italy on a bad night to get a victory. The fiery mentor emphasized though that beyond the result, he wants his players to carry the flag with pride. “Whatever happens, we’re here to represent the Philippines the best way we can,” Guiao added. “Whether we win or we lose, it’s really the way you carry yourself, the way you put out a good performance.”
Regardless of what Duterte said about their chances, Guiao believes that the President will have the Gilas Pilipinas Men’s back in the World Cup. “At the end of the day, I think the president will still be rooting for us anyway,” Guiao concluded. The Philippines opens their FIBA World Cup campaign in the group stage against Italy on August 31, before taking on Group D favorites Serbia on September 2 and Angola on September 4. (Paolo Del Rosario – ESPN)
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