Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Thursday that Gilas Pilipinas should take President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous defeatist remark a challenge to do its best on the FIBA World Cup 2019, which will begin on August 31.
The national basketball team ranks 31st in the world and will be facing hardcourt battle soon with European powerhouses such as Italy, Serbia, and Angola. The team is set to square off with Italy on Saturday.
Defeatist remark should be an inspiration
Duterte’s prediction on Gilas versus Italy game earned criticisms from basketball enthusiasts. Duterte found the height disadvantage as the reason for the team’s likely defeat.
Panelo reiterated that this should be taken as a challenge.
“The statement of the President that most likely you will lose should be a challenge to you and should inspire you to make him wrong and he will be very happy.”
May the odds be ever in your favor
He further added that the odds may be slim, but anything can happen.
“Sabi niya lang I’m speaking on reality na medyo tagilid tayo pero ang bola ay bilog.”
At present, Duterte is in China for a state visit. Panelo announced that the President will personally cheer for the team on its opening game with Italy. This move according to the spokesperson should inspire the team.
“Gawin niyo lahat ang makakaya niyo. ‘Yan ang mensahe niya kaya nga manonood para mainspire naman sila,” he said.
With the president watching, Panelo fearlessly forecasted that Gilas Pilipinas will win on Saturday.
“Palagay ko matatalo Italy. Mananalo ‘yan dahil nandoon si Presidente.”
Make or break
Gilas Head Coach Yeng Guiao said that the game on Saturday will be a make or break for the team. However, they are ready to take on Italy. The best two teams will advance to the second round of the group stage.
After Saturday’s clash with Italy, Gilas will face Serbia on September 2 and will duel with Angola on September 4.
Gilas Pilipinas has already left for China today. All their matches will be held in Foshan.
Source: CNN Philippines