RP basketball legends inspire Gilas for Fiba World Cup home stand

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — On the eve of a crucial home stand that could
punch the Philippines’ ticket to the next round of the qualifiers for
the 2019 Fiba World, Cup, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas brought
out some of the most illustrious names in Philippine basketball to
inspire the current generation of national players at the Meralco
Multi-Purpose Hall.

The Philippines plays Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December
3; both at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“When Filipino basketball fans speak of Olympic honor, of Olympic
prestige, indeed of Olympic tradition, we cast our eyes to the distant
past,” said SBP President Al Panlilio. “We are in the company of 10
great players who know the story of what made our basketball past
great.”

Among the past Philippine Olympians present were Rafael Hechanova
(1952 Helsinki); Antonio Genato (1952 Helsinki and 1956 Melbourne);
Caloy Loyzaga (1952 Helsinki and 1956 Melbourne) who was represented
by his eldest son, Chito Loyzaga; Kurt Bachmann, who was represented
by his son, (1960 Rome) Dicky; Edgardo Roque (1960 Rome); Arturo
Valenzona (1964 Tokyo); Jimmy Mariano (1968 Mexico); Robert Jaworski
(1968 Mexico); Marte Samson (1972 Munich); and Manny Paner (1972
Munich).

The Philippines competed in seven Summer Olympics.

“The objective today is not to measure the success of one team or one
generation over the other, but to share stories and strands of
commitment, patriotism, and pride,” added Panlilio. “We are on the eve
of a war that may well spell whether the Philippines will advance to
the next phase of the Fiba World Cup. Today’s reunion with the
basketball legends reinforces our belief in the Gilas Pilipinas team
to play at its best to achieve its goals, whatever the odds, whatever
the cost.”

Added SBP Executive Director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios, “This is a
golden opportunity for these Philippine basketball legends to share
their experiences and to give inspirational messages to our current
Gilas Pilpinas players. Not many people get this opportunity to be
with greatness and we hope it rubs off on our players.”

“We thank the SBP for the honor of recognition and that they reached
out to the past basketball players to offer words of advice to our
national players,” said Robert Jaworksi.

“Malaking bagay na mga idol natin nag-pave ng way para sa atin,” said
balik-Gilas player LA Tenorio.

“Make the most of this opportunity,” implored Genato to Gilas
Pilipinas. “I believe you will win.”

“This is a wonderful send-off for our national team,” said Gilas head
coach Yeng Guiao. “Meron tayong kasabihan na, ‘ang hindi marunong
lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa pinaroroonan.’ To
be in this room with all these basketball legends is a good
opportunity to learn from our past to aspire for our future. We should
link up with our past to link up with our present to go to our
future.”