The recent debacle by the Powerade- Team Pilipinas at the Jones Cup showed that our basketball gurus in the PBA still did not learn from past experiences and conveniently forgot the lessons of the past. The problems that besieged the present team were the same ones that plagued the previous PBA- backed national teams as far back as the 2002 Busan Asian Games. It was déjà vu all over again.
They set aside the lessons learned in Busan and the promise of Tokushima as they once again went back to the old practice of forming an ill-prepared national team for international competitions. They proclaim to high heavens that they have the knowledge and feel of the game and yet their actions showed otherwise.
It’s painful for the Filipino basketball fans to see their National Team become the laughing stock of the tournament as they were massacred time and time again by their opponents. Teams toyed with the hapless Filipino professionals as they came to a rude awakening that their game is not up to par with their Asian neighbors as they were embarrassed and humiliated on the hard court.
It is quite obvious that while our neighbors have improved and adapted to the international brand of basketball to perfection, we Filipinos have been stuck with the delusion that our brand of basketball patterned after the Americans will still be superior against our neighbors.
The Jones Cup is just a microcosm of what ails our basketball system. There is no continuity in the so-called program coupled with the PBA’s half- hearted commitment to put their money where their mouth is, which only spells disaster to any international campaign.
The PBA has been very vocal in the past of forming a pool of players to represent the Philippines in international competitions. They averred that with a core made up of the best players in the league, the Philippines will be on the road of regaining back basketball respectability, if not supremacy, in Asia.
But after Tokushima, whatever happened to that core of players that Chot Reyes assembled?
For whatever reason, they disbanded it, formed a new one with different sets of players who are less talented than their predecessors and appointed a coach with a different philosophy and is not well-versed of how basketball is being played in his neighbors’ backyard. Back to scratch, I dare say.
If the Powerade- Team Pilipinas’ performance in the Jones Cup is a barometer of how they will play in the FIBA World Basketball Qualifiers in Tianjin, China this coming August 6-16, then the Filipino basketball nation is in for another heartbreaker.
Good thing, there’s the young Smart Gilas on the horizon.