Philippines' Long-Awaited Basketball Gold Sparks Joy and Pride


Philippines’ Long-Awaited Basketball Gold Sparks Joy and Pride

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Filipinos erupted in jubilation as their men’s basketball team broke a 61-year gold medal drought at the Asian Games. Gilas Pilipinas secured a hard-fought 70-60 victory against Jordan in the final in Hangzhou, China, captivating a nation of 110 million basketball enthusiasts.

The nation’s devotion to basketball was evident as people across the country tuned in to watch the historic game on television and mobile devices. At a watch party in a university hostel in northern Manila, the crowd exploded with joy as the final Jordanian rally fell short.

Martin Andrew Guevara, a 45-year-old sound engineer and basketball enthusiast, expressed his pride, saying, “I’m very happy. Proud, proud, proud Pinoy (Filipino).” For many, this victory helped heal the wounds left by the Philippines’ disappointing performance at the recent FIBA World Cup, where they finished in 24th place after losing all three of their group-stage matches.

“This win is different. At least we have proven that we can do it,” Guevara added.

Francesca Gomez, a 25-year-old account manager, shared her excitement, emphasizing the significance of the win after six decades. She said, “It’s very exciting because it’s the first time we’ve won in six decades… It feels like it’s been a long time.”

President Ferdinand Marcos underscored the victory’s importance to the country, tweeting, “I know every Filipino is proud to be called one today. Congratulations, Gilas Pilipinas, on this incredible feat!”

This victory brought back memories of the Filipino team’s last Asian Games basketball gold in 1962 when Carlos “The Big Difference” Loyzaga led the squad to victory in Jakarta. Few alive today remember that historic moment, but the pride and joy felt across the nation were undeniable.

As one fan put it on social media, “51 years in the making,” even though the actual gap was a decade longer. Nevertheless, the wait for this historic triumph had been far too lengthy.


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