Vargas Rejoices Over Gilas Pilipinas' Asian Games Gold Medal
Twenty days after publicly discussing the daunting hurdles of creating a competitive Gilas Pilipinas squad for the Asian Games, PBA leaders met with the media again. Still, this time, the mood was relief and pure delight. The successful completion of their quest and the riveting stories that arose from their long road to winning the Asiad gold medal fueled their renewed hope.
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PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, Vice Governor Bobby Rosales, Ginebra Governor and Gilas Team Manager Alfrancis Chua, and Commissioner Willie Marcial spoke about their chosen problematic route.
“We’re glad we took on this challenge,” Vargas said, reflecting on the uncertainty obscuring their first moves. Putting together a squad to represent the Philippines at the Asian Games had been riddled with technicalities and uncertainty, prompting heated debate among PBA officials. They were concerned about the possibility of losing every game and the anticipated social media response. On the other hand, they elected to face the problem head-on.
Vargas thanked Gilas’ significant sponsors, including San Miguel Corp. President and CEO Ramon S. Ang and MVP Group Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan. Their unwavering support was critical to the effective achievement of their goals. Vargas also highlighted the importance of their teamwork, saying, “You can imagine these two gentlemen getting together.” Philippine basketball has a bright future.”
The Philippine Basketball Association played a pivotal part in the quest to win the gold medal, demonstrating that despite their numerous hurdles, their aim was nonetheless feasible. They showed their mettle by navigating obstacles like player availability, eligibility, and logistical challenges in China.
Vargas emphasized a critical shift in their position, saying, “For the first time, we were allowed to manage the team, choose the players, and do whatever we wanted.” The SBP [Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas] has given the PBA more authority.” He showed humility in their win and acknowledged the responsibilities that awaited them as they prepared to defend their title in four years, a journey that had already begun.
Collaboration and trust between the PBA and SBP, led by SBP President Al Panlilio, were critical to the Asiad campaign’s success. This win represented a historic moment in Philippine basketball and laid the groundwork for a bright future in which the sport would prosper and evolve.