Friday, September 30, 2011

My Reflections on the FIBA Asia (Part 1)

It's so ironic how I wrote about 'grabbing opportunities that come your way' in one of my recent posts. We just missed an opportunity of a lifetime for Philippine basketball. Our recent 4th place finish in the FIBA Asia, which was held in Wuhan China, drew mixed emotions. On one hand, it was a great success because the team was able to make it to the Final 4 quite convincingly after a series of victories against UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Japan and Syria in the elimination round and against Chinese Taipei in the Quarterfinals. Basketball experts say the top 4 finish hasn't been done in 20 something years and probably the best finish since the emergence of the middle eastern nations. But after the quarterfinals, horror began!


I talked about painful losses, but the wounds of this one will take a lifetime to heal. I thought I'd somehow get used to dealing with lost games/tournaments but this one is just the most painful and most difficult.



JORDAN


The loss against Jordan in the semifinals was tough and painful, but nothing compared to the one against Korea. Jordan is a tall, experienced and skilled team, not to mention they have Coach Baldwin whom I truly respect not only because of his ingenuity and professionalism inside the hardcourt but also his kind, humble and friendly personality off the court. Those who closely followed the FIBA Asia would know that Iran (ranked #1 in the QF) was the clear favorite to make it to the finals, and we knew that if we can get pass Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals, that we would have to face a huge road block , which is Iran. Having included Kazemi in their lineup, Iran has never fielded a stronger team. But guess what, they were upset by Jordan in the quarterfinals. When we heard this, we suddenly saw a crack in the door leading up to the Olympics. This was because we knew we would match up better with Jordan than Iran and that we've defeated them several times in prior games including that in the elims.


Unfortunately, the Jordanians were very focused and they did their scouting homework excellently , causing us to lose our offensive fluidity, as a result of their switching man-zone defenses. I will not expound on the details anymore. Basically, they deserved to win that game.


KOREA


In the game against Korea for the bronze medal, it was pretty much a won game for us until the dying minutes of the 4th quarter where Korea got their shooting confidence. One layup or a pair of free throws would have put our lead up to 12 or 14 points coming into the last 5 minutes of the game and that would have been enough to put the Koreans away. But no, instead, they brought the lead down to single digits and it gave them hope until they finally found their shooting stroke and ended up winning by 2 points! That shocking game for us will be recorded as one of the greatest comebacks in the Korean history books.


What makes it more painful, was that we had everything going our way. From the body language of both teams at the beginning of the game, our players were more energetic, motivated and clearly wanted the win more. Korea had an 8pm game the night before and they look very tired. Our defense made them miss a lot of shots throughout the game, but they also missed 3 or 4 point blank layups in the 1st quarter. Some of their key players were even injured. Everything was going right for us until the unexpected happened! We were stunned!


MISSED A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY


One of the main reasons why I felt some regret is because we missed a golden chance to place ourselves in the history books by at least bringing home a medal for the country. That hasn't been done in decades, not even by some of our basketball idols. We had it in the palm of our hands but somehow it slipped away.


I have to admit that the Pinoy fans have been extremely supportive and appreciative of the result but still there's that feeling of disappointment that we could have made them even more proud, knowing that the Philippines is still a basketball-crazy nation! It was so close. We've been receiving very supportive and appreciative messages on twitter, and since we got back, right when we stepped off the plane or wherever I go, people would go up to me and congratulate me for a job well done but there's always that expression of 'Sayang!' whether explicitly said or not. You can see it through their faces.


TO BELIEVE AND TO INSPIRE


But more than all that, the main reason why I felt disappointed not winning the Gold or any medal at that is because I wanted the Gilas team to prove something to the nation. Something that can truly inspire us to dream beyond our imagination. From the very beginning, only a handful of people believed in the program. Many people laughed when we said we were aiming for the Olympics. Some said that the Philippines should forget about basketball and focus on other sports since basketball is a big man's game and we Filipinos obviously don't have the height. But this gave us motivation, the reason why we wanted to succeed so badly is not for any personal glory but because we wanted to inspire the millions of Filipinos that tasks like this that seem impossible can be achieved despite the odds. We, Pinoys are often underdogs. We live in deep poverty, but if we first BELIEVE, then through extreme hard work, cooperation, sacrifice and dedication, nothing is impossible!

41 comments:

Patty said...

Yes, Chris, it truly is 'sayang'. I watched your Korea (and Jordan) game and I don't know how I was able to hold back the tears after the loss. It seemed like I just wanted to sulk in sadness in one corner and do nothing else. I could just imagine how you guys felt.

Nevertheless, you have undoubtedly inspired us and made us believe once again. Despite coming up short, you have proven the critics wrong. You have achieved way beyond what everyone expected, and for that, thank you very very much.

William A. said...

The best thing that happened during the FIBA ASIA games is that the Filipinos unite from other parts of the world and everyone feels proud to be a Filipino. I always see you at Ateneo during our college year. Until now, you are still the Chris that every Atenean loves and idolize. Continue being the role model of every Filipino and don't stop believing and dreaming that we can be the best in Asia and even in the whole world. Go Ateneo and Go Pilipinas :) Heads up Chris and the rest of Gilas. We are so proud of you and God bless :)

HOPE said...

Mismo Idol! Ang hirap maniwala pag wala pa ang inaasahang resulta; tipong panaginip pa nga lahat lagi...But to remain hopeful all the time, guess that's the miracle of it all!!! I still believe!!! 2013!!!yun ang para sa atin!

sherilyn said...

hi chris,

Honestly, I was dissapointed..of you not finishing 3rd place..

I wasn't able to watch your last two games..I had to prepare for my board examination..and hearing the results on your game versus Jordan affects me a lot..

I knew your dream..our dream..
but let us say that this really happens..

Maybe It's not yet for us..

But being in the final four is already a pride for the country..

Please continue to dream..and next time we will live that dream..we still believe in you..:)

kit said...

Disappointment is never easy. Yes, we really wanted that medal... so bad! But it is not just because of Filipino pride (it's a given), but because you guys deserved one. We could see really see how determined you were.

You may not have brought home a medal, but you brought home HOPE, FAITH, and DETERMINATION. We will never get tired of supporting you guys because we never get tire of supporting those who genuinely work for the country. GO GILAS! We got your back! :)

1eveee87 said...

Chris,

You have always been an inspiration to a lot of basketball enthusiasts out there. I believe that what you and the team has shown in all your games are enough proof that my faith in you was never unfounded. I do believe there are always reasons why things happen as they do. The country has never since been part of the top 4 since more than 20 years ago. But this year, you guys showed the rest of the world that we are back on track. Although such a great opportunity of bringing home a medal and not being able to do so may be such a major disapointment in itself, I believe that what you guys showed out there are beyond all our expectations. I could still recall the horror that I felt when you lost to Jordan and then to Korea, but then afterwards I realized- God did't want us to be too greedy. In a way, he's telling us that yes, we have the ability to make it, and yes we have the capacity to conquer. But, he needs us to bide our time. Gilas is back on track. Whatever missed opportunities that the team suffered from during those crucial moments, they are sure to guide the whole team for future matches... to work hard and strive more to finally get that honor that you have always wanted to grace our country with.
So, cheer up and continue the journey and the dream that is Smart Gilas. You can trust that we will continue to back you up.:)
God bless you.
- evee

Miguel said...

a true filipino! pagpatuloy mo para sa bansa! GO PILIPINAS! I still BELIVE!

Hasmin :) said...

Gilas would still be the best ♥ Such an inspiration.

GAPUZ ANTHONY said...

nice column ... we know how the Gilas players felt because kahit kami na nanunuod lang eh lubhang nalungkot kayo pa kaya ...

but we still believe in GILAS 2.013 reloaded ... very excited to hear about the next program

krista said...

you've proven a lot already.no disappointments.... Maybe it's not yet our country's time for that,but GOD surely has HIS plans..and our team will be stronger than ever. we all believe in you !! What you've achieved is already something we are very proud and insipired of..:)..Just continue to do your best and we'll be here to support you all the way.:)

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Saludo ako sa yo at sa buong national team. Ipagpatuloy natin ang pangarap. Wala ng bibitaw. Mararating rin natin yun!

-Red

Traci Ann said...

Ok lang yun kuya chris ang importante ginawa nyo yung best nyo! Baka talagang gusto ni God sa 2013 at 2014 tayo makakuha ng gold! Sobra nga akong nalungkot at naiyak nung nakita ko kayong sad nung laban sa korea kaya wag na kayong malungkot at least may next time pa =D. Thanks ha kasi pinakita nyo na magaling ang Philippines sa basketball nung nakuha nyo yung 4th. Pag pray ko na kayo ngayon pa lang! God bless!

Anonymous said...

Chris, now is the time for rebuilding. wala na bang plans? Gilas is doing just fine, but the team can be better in time. Sana ipagpatuloy pa ang program.

Andrea Cruz

Rudy email: rudyjoe@guam.net said...

Chris, you're doing a noble thing as a young man and for me the last time I saw a Philippine Team in the Olympics I was only a 15 year old. How I long to see another team from our country in the Olympics. You provided this hope and do not stop dreaming because I surely won't. 2013 is just around the corner and I hope we would get better by then. Thanks again and surely what you are doing is truly great continue with and we will see it come. I just hope I would be there to see it.

Anonymous said...

Chris,one day you will look back at this loss in hind sight and say it made us better. They say you can't win until you taste how it feels to loose. I would trade a top 3 finish in 2012 over one this year. And I have a feeling our defeat this year will be catalyst to try even harder next time.

Anonymous said...

Cris,

Congrats...4th Place is already something we Filipinos can be really proud of. Heads up guys!!!

Thank you for being a true inspiration to all of us .

Remember...(Ateneo - Believe)
"I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows"

Keep on dreaming...keep that faith who knows...soon we will be there.

Go Cris...Go Gilas.
/gel10

Anonymous said...

I'm based in New Zealand and I know Tad Baldwin, One of the things I remember him saying is it takes a few good men to do something speical, at the time he was talking about the Tall Blacks who he led to 4th place finish the 2002 Word championships. and he was specifically referreing to their captain : Pero Cameron, a player limited in talent but who had excellent leadership ability. ( Pero made it to the all world team in 2002 together with Ginobili, Yao, Peja and Dirk). I really see the similarities with you Chris and Pero Cameron, you are a born leader. Likewise I also see the similarity between Baldwin and Toroman. There are coaches and there are leaders. Both are not just coaches but are leaders

ericantph said...

Hey Chris, you should be unbowed by this! You have given your all for flag and country!!! That is truly more than what was asked of you guys. You guys put the Philippines back on the basketball map after 24 years of dormancy. You, on a personal note, have shown a balanced game from both ends, scoring and assisting when you needed to and clamping down on your man on defense. You provided a lot of intangibles for the national team. All these despite all the negative feedback being written about you regarding your being undersized for your position. Well, you just made believers out of those people. From playing with the Blue Eagles to your stint with Smart Gilas, you have proven your grit, natural smarts, great shooting and a versatile complete 2-way game will win the day always! Kudos and get the GOLD in the SEA Games! Go Chris Tiu!!! Go Philippines! OBF!!!

macel said...

Hi Kuya Chris!

It was indeed a disappointing moment...i've watched the fiba asia since the first day until that heart breaking loss against korea...it was like i am in the venue although i am just in front of my tv watching the game....i am holding my tears so that dad would not notice it...When korea is starting to get back in the game i also start to pray our father and hail mary....i think i made more than ten of each....but then again my prayers were not answered but i think god wanted to say is that this is not yet our time maybe next time....and that next time might be put the philippines not just top 3 or 2 but maybe the best among the rest...

you guys, gilas, did inspired all of us...we saw the effort, the heart and the determination to win...like what i always say to my younger brother and my classmates..."pag may chance dapat tayong maniwala...tiwala lang"...

I was inspired by this blog of yours kuya...there is always a next time...and in the last fiba asia the philippines finished 9 or 8 in asia and this year we finished 4th...so there no other way but going up!....

Congrats!Thank you!God Bless!

Mjane said...

Just like you guys, I was also expecting that you would bag the bronze medal. Everything went in so well in the last 37 minutes. Given that comfortable lead that could have been hours.

But just try to see the bigger picture, that defeat created lots of chances, I mean good chances; and support from the different basketball orgs. have been coming in. Sad, that it came too late. Nevertheless, we will get there. One step at a time.

Before I end this, thank you so much for your undying dedication to play for flag and country. Kudos to you Chris. *^.^*

Anonymous said...

one word that describes SMART GILAS is , BEST- not only in playing for the country but also being the best in their own small ways. PROUD TO BE PINOY . :)

aiidzz said...

Don't worry kuya Chris! The program wasnt a failure and I just wanna tell you that you guys inspired me to work harder, dream bigger and pray all the time!! Even though you didnt win a medal, remember what circumstances you guys been with! though its not good to make it an alibi.. but you guys genuinely admitted that you have to fix things! it's the little things and im sure you guys can fix it! But like what the others said.. sayang! If only PBA and SMC are in the same direction as SBP! Honestly speaking, the team shouldnt have been called PILIPINAS, couldve been Smart Gilas MVP! I hope you as a leader would tell the management that it is only through unity that we can attain our dream! God knows that parties are of different interests and He wants us to fix it! Thank you Kuya Chris and The Whole Smart Gilas for making my past 3 years exciting for bringing me hope that someday, I will be proud that I'm Filipino and we are a hell of ballers!! God Bless! AMDG!!!

voyageR-3 said...

I feel for you Chris.

I believed in the program and followed you all from the start. We all feel the loss but we are still so proud of you and the rest of the Gilas. Yes, we were almost there. We were that close. I still feel the sadness now and I'm sure what I feel is nothing compared to how you feel.

You made your mark. You guys started to blaze a trail and made Filipinos start to believe, even the people who didn't believe from the start.

Katrina Nilo said...

Sir Chris Tiu,
CONGRATULATIONS!! WE ARE ALL PROUD OF WHAT YOU GUYS ACHIEVED.. :)

May dahilan kung bakit minsan nadadapa tayo. Ang mahalaga ay yung nakatayo tayo ulit. At nakakapit pa rin kay God no matter what happens. Dahil may susunod pang laban. May susunod pang pagkakataon. Keep on trusting God for His plans for you guys, for this nation.
We're truly proud of what you've done for our country. SALAMAT..=') Nawindang na naman ang mundo sa galing ng Pinoy hehe.. Keep fighting. Keep believing. Kaya niyo yan. Si Lord ang bahala sa lahat. ^_^ Smile Sir Chris, we got your back. :)

Anonymous said...

Sir Chris, CHeer up... may 2013 pa para bumawi... Sobrang nalungkot din ako... it took me almost a day to recover from you loss... I even offered a prayer for you guys... and I know God has another plan for you... Good luck sa mga darating na laro nyo pa...

kristian said...

The best pa rin kayo. Thank you sa pagbibigay sa Pilipinas ng pagkakaisa. Sarap ng feeling na pinapanood ko kayo tapos sasabihin kong "Naks, pusong-pinoy talaga.."

Wag kayong susuko, umaasa parin kami na mapanood ang magaganda niyong laban.

carlopongkie said...

Chris, many years from now we will look back at 2011 and say this is where it all started..

I know for sure we will be in the olympics and the world championships.. it's now just a matter of time.. you earned not just our respect but also the repect of the whole Asian basketball community..

We'll see you on the podium this 2013 Gilas!

We got your back! LABAN GILAS!

Anonymous said...

Might sound too much, but I got my self drunk after the team's loss at the Semis... I was already anticipating a rematch of China and the Philippines (with Lutz and Lassiter) in the finals because I know you can beat Jordan. I wanted to see Coach Donewald fail and lose a bit of arrogance after a loss... I wanted to see Yi Jian Lian lose that annoying smirk after failing to grab the gold on their home soil... But above all, I wanted to see the entire Gilas team celebrating at the center court, lifting Coach Toroman after a stunned Chinese crowd... Seeing the Philippine flag raised above all the others while our anthem is played would've brought me to tears and have goosebumps all over... I prayed really hard for that Olympic slot. Well God thought it wasn't the right time. I have to wait for God's perfect time and I believe that time will be really soon... The Basketball crazy country, hungry to regain the glory of the past, will soon be back on top!

Congratulations to the entire program. I know we can only say that a program was successful when the goal was met... The Gilas program failed to capture that Olympic slot, but it didn't fail! It succeeded in a lot of different ways bigger than the main goal... It brought back pride, gave people hope and inspiration, and successfully showed the world that the Filipinos will fight against all odds. Now it is time for a new chapter. New players, new team, new goals... Another set of sleepless nights for us fans who watch the games even just in livestreams available with commentators we don't even understand or worse, we are left with no options but just to read the FIBA Live Stats' play-by-play...

Win or lose, I will always support the team... I still believe

Trisha Tan said...

I'm very proud of your effort ! Trying your best to qualify to the London Olympic once again vs other Asia's best of the best team .

Atleast the best achievement that you guys made is making the filipino nations to unite , pray together hoping for the glory & the best reward for that is reasons to smile once again (^_^)

Anonymous said...

For the past 3 yrs. I keep following and watching smart gilas the day it start till the the heartbreaking lost to korea.I admit that im one of those filipino cried and not have sleep for at least 3 day, because of the lost.still I know smart gilas you did everything and your best.


Strenght does not come from winning.your struggles develop your strenghts...

"FILIPINO FROM KUWAIT"

Riyando Marco said...

It's ok Chris. I still idolize you. You did what was tasked of you. It's just that sometimes, luck was not on our side. But that doesn't mean we should give up. I still believe in the program and someday Phil will be in the Olympics again. I'm a die hard fan of basketball specially if it involves the Phil. I even skipped my law classes just to watch your games in the Asian champs. But unfortunately that's what we got but from a hard fought game. All the Gilas gave their all. We can still get this elusive dream someday. Continue to be a mentor and model for the young Pinoy ballers out there. Actually there are a lot of Pinoys with skills. They just need proper training and motivation. We can still do this. I believe.

ruffa said...

I've been following Gilas since last year. From that time on I believe in the team. I know the hard work you've done for the team. The sacrifices and perseverance. I know it's really disappointing cause that's what i also felt. I cried after you lose to Jordan and Korea. but after that I know that what you have achieved is something to be proud of!! you guys made us believe that we can do it. we can be the best. maybe not now but in time we will be. just keep on believing. never lose hope!! thank you for inspiring us and bringing honor!! we're proud of Gilas!! from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

Joshua Zuniega said...

To the respectable and cute man in jersey#8,

Cheer up! We know that you (and the entire SMART GILAS PILIPINAS!) have the ability to outwit those two teams that scarred your heart. As a die-hard fan of Gilas, I also felt that sadness hovered above me when I watched the last two games.

But please believe me when I say this: It was never about how far you reached in FIBA, it was more about how wholeheartedly you dedicated yourselves, your time, your efforts, and your Filipino spirit in representing our nation in the league.

So please smile now :) YOU(SMART GILAS PILIPINAS) ARE UNDENIABLY A NATION'S PRIDE!

love,
joshua (your#1fan)

PS: Given a chance, I would like to embrace all of you. I respect and adore you even more. AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM!

LOVEgrace said...

My heart bleeds for all the players upon the final second...when you kinda hug J. Casio..pati sa Phil. Star picture sa frontpage...it wasn't you, but I felt broken..as in..But like you've written, it seemed God really didn't like us to win ..but He definitely showede it can happen...walang imposible!!! so dream on..susunod, atin na po.

boybits said...

I watched all the Gilas games, and I was very confident that we will make it to the OLYMPICS or at least the QUALIFIERS. The lost to JORDAN was OK, but the one with the KOREA, is very heartbreaking, I wished that it was only a PS2 GAME, so i can restart or quit the game especially the dying seconds of the game.

Filipinos should not stop believing that we can make it to the OLYMPICS, especially that MVP is really reaching out to help and develop the program. This is not really our time, it is only the start of Philippine basketball bringing back its glory.

Anonymous said...

"Jordan is a tall, experienced and skilled team." Sir sa inyo na nanggaling yan.Request ko lang po pansin ko napaka liit ng team Gilas. Kahit na anong galing ng Pinoy kung puro Unano kakainin lang tayo. Thats the reality. Sana we have Atleast 6'4 to 6'5 sa Shooting Guard and 6'6 sa Small Forward. Good Luck team and Thanks :)

Mike said...

Congratulations Chris Tiu and the Smart Gilas Team.

I have been supporting Smart Gilas since 2009, you can see some of your photos and other Smart Gilas players at my site smartgilaspilipinas.com

Gen said...

hi Kuya Chris!

ang galing nyun during FIBA...
In fact I keep on bragging with my classmates that you'll guys would win. And I'm right you finish 4th place. I also that heard the it's the best our country has gone for almost 20 years.

There should be no regrets for every game is a learning experience.

In time you'll get that gold thingy

thankzzz

ayel said...

Disappointment is inevitable after every loss. But I assure you that the team did great all throughout the competition despite the defeats. Guess it's enough to know that a lot of people, especially Filipinos, are more than willing to support the team. No need to feel so down. After all, the journey, itself, is the reward. Never lose faith 'cause as the saying goes, "Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats."

I don't need a basketball game to support you, guys. I will never ever quit supporting the team. Kudos! :)

Anonymous said...

I teared up in this entry. :(
i can really feel your frustrations and disappointments. Pero kahit ganon pa man, i can see light at the end of the tunnel. :)) Just always work hard and be prayerful. God is always there for our team. :)
Godbless you, Chris! More power!

joanne ramon said...

hi chris... hindi man kayo nanalo...for me panalo kayo..personally u inspired me to do something to our country.giving up the opportunities na makapaglaro agad ang ilang member ng gilas sa PBA, para lang magtrain sa national is a big sacrifice and an act of love to our country...before i never watch basketball kahit ung asawa ko pinapanood kayo...pero nung nalaman ko na u spend almost 2 years to train...nahilig na ko na abangan kayo dahil naramdaman ko ung sincerity nyo makilala ang mga pinoy..kaya sobrang nalungkot ako na di ko na kau makikitang naglalaro ng sama-sama...