The country is a basketball-lover nation. It is something that can never be altered, not even a very high-ranking official. But, we should say, basketball is something that, even if how much we love it, will never love us back. No matter how high our devotions and how hard we practice are. The noise was so deafening, as people crowded on their neighbors’ houses just to watch the 2014 FIBA World Cup. They cheered for the Philippines Basketball Team, the “Gilas Pilipinas”, while watching the aired fight on televisions. The rain dropped, the wind blew hard, and the sun sent a scorching heat that could burn their bare backs, but those didn’t stop them from applauding. No changes of the season could, we know that. There are no streets of the Philippines that have no hints of basketball. In fact, its team Gilas Pilipinas became the first team ever since the 1974 Philippine squad to qualify for the World Cup of Basketball. At the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, we showed the world just how passionate we are about the game. Each member showed the other teams that they will fight against all odds. The average height of the team was 6-foot-3, the same height of the Philippines’ basketball symbol, Carlos Loyzaga, who played impressively with his fellow team members during the 1950’s. Loyzaga was a two-time Olympian as a member of the Philippines men’s national basketball team. He helped the Philippines become one of the best in the world at the time, winning four consecutive Asian Games gold medals during 195119541958, and 1962 and two consecutive FIBA Asia Championships 1960’s and 1963’s. But at the FIBA World Cup,  where every team seem to be a lot bigger, heavier and more competitive than ours, the Gilas Filipinas caused a big stir of the people’s hearts as they shouted their battle cry, “PUSO”. There was also a time when Argentina, the world’s third best team, looked ready to fall on the Gilas Pilipinas’ hands when they were beaten to a 12-2 start. Argentina coach Julio Lamas said afterwards that it was the hardest game that he had to coach in his all lifetime. It may look weird and different to other countries, but when Philippines won over Senegal, Pinoys celebrated it like it was a championship, like it was the best news they have ever heard of. Especially when they were beaten by the other basketball teams, it was the result of their hard work, practice, and devotion to win. While we Pinoys excelled on other sports and bring pride to our country, we will continue to scream our hearts out to our performers, for better or worse, even in victory and defeat. We will promise to do our very best in the tournaments, to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Because we know that the true value of sports is not in winning, but in playing well of every game we play. We will continue to show our gratitude to Him above, because, it is He who fills the spaces, it is He who knows the best, and so we must wait in patience and leave to Him the rest.

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