FIBA Asia 2013 Men’s Basketball Finals
When Silver Is Just As Good As Gold
Basketball and the Filipinos
The Philippine team was arguably Asia’s best basketball players ever since Naismith’s relatively simple shooting game was introduced by who else but the Americans to the Philippine island nation at the start of the 20th Century.
Fast forward to 2013, after winning FIBA Asia Gold five times and the Asian Games Gold four times, dominating the 1950s, the 1960s, most of the 1970s and winning FIBA last in 1985, the Philippines is finally back to the FIBA Asia Finals now with emerging Asian Basketball Powerhouse Iran.
The Philippines Men’s basketball last battled for the gold in the Asian Basketball Games in 1990 losing to China who along with South Korea, Japan and now Iran are currently Asia’s Basketball Superpowers since the Philippines lost steam in the 70s and 80s.
Philippines Still Holds Asian Basketball Records
It doesn’t matter that the Philippines is still the highest placed Asian nation in Olympic Men’s Basketball, a fifth place finish in the 1936 Berlin Games and the second highest participation with seven total games so far (only China has more with 8).
It doesn’t even matter that the Philippines is the only Asian country so far to have a medal in the FIBA World Games -- the World Cup of Basketball. They won the bronze in the 1954 world games.
These are all that is in the past now.
FIBA Asia 2013
Playing at the Mall of Asia in Manila, the Philippines is eyeing an automatic FIBA World’s Championship berth by trying to barge into the finals of FIBA Asia. And to do that they will have to hurdle their decades old nemesis, the taller and sweet shooting South Koreans.
What happens next is not for the faint of heart. Hounded by injuries, foul trouble and the constant comeback kid (the Koreans) who have through the years broken the hearts of many Filipino players, coaches and fans, the Philippine team finally held on to win over their adversary and with that a trip to the finals against Iran.
Silver or Gold?
First or second place, it doesn’t matter now. The Philippine Men’s Basketball team (known locally and internationally as 'Gilas') is finally back in the World Basketball Stage.
On August 11, 2013, Iran powered by behemoths eventually routed the smaller Philippine team who was playing without their injured center to win the gold. The Philippines finishes with only a silver medal but has finally resurrected all the forgotten dreams of Philippine basketball fans who were sleeping for the last 40 years.
Go Philippines, you can still fly higher!
'Gilas' is a Tagalog (Filipino) word that can be translated as elegance, speed or courage or all of the above.
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