Bong Go calls for unity and support for Gilas Pilipinas amid challenges

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday, 5 August, has called for unity and support for the Philippine men’s basketball team, popularly known as Gilas Pilipinas, amid challenges as it prepares for the 2023 FIBA World Cup which will be co-hosted by the Philippines.

In an ambush interview after personally providing aid to residents of Agdao District, Davao City, Go shared that he, together with other senators, has filed Senate Resolution No. 83 urging the Committee on Sports to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the ways to support the Gilas Pilipinas.

Go clarified that this does not aim to criticize the national team but to review the relevant laws and policies to ensure optimal performance in future international sports competitions and to protect the welfare of Filipino athletes.

“Nag-file na po kami. Lima kami, ako, si Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, si Sen. Mark Villar, Sen. Francis Tolentino at Sen. Joel Villanueva, nag-file po kami ng Resolution No. 83 early (last) week para i-review po natin ang mga relevant laws and policies at matulungan po ang ating national team, itong Gilas. Hindi po para i-criticize, pero para makatulong,” said Go.

The Philippines was unable to complete a record-breaking 14th consecutive SEA Games gold medal in the men’s basketball division after losing to Indonesia in Hanoi back in May. This also put an end to the 33-year basketball dominance of Gilas Pilipinas at the SEA Games.

The Philippines was also unable to reach the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Cup for the first time in 15 years after losing to Japan in a knockout playoff in Indonesia in July.

These losses came just 14 months before the Philippines co-hosts the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Japan and Indonesia, which will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena from August 25 to September 10 next year. The country will also host the final phase of the competition.

Despite these heartbreaking losses, Go urged Filipinos to move forward and instead look for ways on how to support and assist the national team.

“Moving forward, kalimutan na natin ‘yung mga nangyari noong mga nakaraan. Tingnan natin kung paano natin matutulungan ang team dahil host po tayo sa 2023 at gusto nating makabalik tayo na maging ‘Sports Powerhouse in Asia’. Tulungan natin sila,” said Go.

“Tanungin natin ‘yung mga players, ‘yung mga players na mayroong pagmamahal sa ating bayan na makapaglaro sila at ‘yung mga magagaling na mabigyan rin po ng oportunidad. Importante rito ‘yung teamwork,” he added.

Go then pushed for cooperation among the players, team owners, the Philippine Basketball Association, and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to lift up the squad’s spirit and morale for the FIBA World Cup in 2023.

“Dapat magkaisa po, hindi lang po players, team owners, PBA, SBP, lahat po, pribado man o publiko, magtulungan po tayo. Kami po mga elected officials, magtulungan po tayo para po lumakas ang ating team, tumaas ang morale ng ating basketball team at manalo tayo dahil tayo po ang host sa 2023 nitong FIBA World,” reiterated Go.

The senator added that the team must be supported so they could perform well throughout the sporting event especially because they would be competing in front of a Filipino crowd.

“Kailangan po maganda ang ating magiging performance dito dahil maglalaro po tayo sa harapan ng ating mga kababayan,” he ended.

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