Palace lauds Gilas Pilipinas despite depressing defeat vs Italy in World Cup
Malacañang has hailed the Gilas Pilipinas for competing "with grit and passion" despite the depressing 46-point loss against the Italian cagers in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Game in China.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who personally cheered for the Filipino players, had predicted even weeks prior to the game that Gilas would not win against its Italian opponents who were much taller than the Filipinos.
"Verily, its not always winning that counts; it is how the game is played. Our Filipino players honorably competed with grit and passion (Saturday), and for that they deserve our admiration," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday.
Prior to the game, Duterte visited Gilas Pilipinas in the locker room and cheered for the Philippine team.
“We are here --- actually there are many congressman and also Filipinos, Chinese-Filipinos who are here --- and we are here to give you the spirit to fight. We can do it," a Palace statement, quoting Duterte telling the Gilas players and coaches.
The President watched from the VIP deck of the GBA International Sports and Cultural Center and, during the halftime break, he waved at the Filipinos who were also watching the game.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan who called on Duterte before the start of the game was also present during the basketball match.
The President assured the Filipino players of the government's support for them.
While the Philippine team suffered a defeat on its first match, Panelo said, "we must always remember that the true hallmarks of Filipino pride are resiliency in the face of adversity, perseverance in times of crisis, and triumph despite insurmountable odds."
"That is the spirit of what it means to be Filipino. Thus, we have no doubt that our nation's team will bounce back with renewed heart in its next game," he said.
While losing to Italy, 108-62, Gilas Pilipinas has demonstrated its ability to make plays against world-class competition, a Palace statement said.
The Philippine team will face Serbia on Monday night. Celerina Monte/DMS