Gilas hangover? Us too!COurtVision

We’ve got your back though, as this week’s Court Vision will celebrate the achievements of Smart Gilas Pilipinas.

Ready to once again fill your hearts with Filipino pride? We reflect, remember and say thanks below:

Angel Velasco of Kilikilishot.com: “It took them half the last decade (probably longer, throwing in all the blueprints, etc.), but they did it. They recognized the need to pull their resources together and come up with a structured program instead of just hastily assembling an All Star fantasy team that was proven flawed the first time out. They saw the need to jumpstart the program by adding what we’ve been lacking the last few years—a legitimate big man to go toe-to-toe with top level Asian talent. They then realized their flaws and altered the program somewhat by incorporating more professional players—but those who could fit their system overall.”

Paul Lintag of jumperfromtheleftwing: “#4 Jimmy Alapag – Thank you for your determination, leadership and heart. If this is indeed you last hurrah in international basketball, thank you for giving it your all one last time. Thank you for your patience and your intensity; Thank you for your clutch three-pointers and thank you for giving the country a hand in exorcising the “Korean Curse.” Most of all, thank you for being an inspiration to all the Filipinos who may be short in height, but big in heart. Thank you “Mighty Mouse” Jimmy Alapag for always saving the day.”

Cherie Mercado via Interaksyon: “Now I know that LA isn’t from Los Angeles but Alapag is. LA is from Batangas and his name is short for Lewis Alfred. Now I look at Marc Pingris with high respect. The way he owns and protects that ball after a rebound, and having the biggest PUSO I’ve seen in the last two games makes him his own man outside of Vic and Danica Sotto.  And I now know that despite being half-French, Jean Marc Pingris was born in Pangasinan, studied in PSBA for college, and didn’t see his father for 25 years until he and Danica honeymooned in Paris last 2008 (the meeting arranged by his sweet wife who searched for Marc’s estranged father). Now I know that Jeff Chan is not a player from China, Hongkong or Chinese-Taipei. He is ours. Born and raised in Bacolod and played for the FEU tamaraws. And thankfully so, as his unexpected, surprising, crucial shots never fail to draw the loudest cheers from the crowd.”

Enzo Flojo of Hoopnut: “”Let’s give it our best shot. No holds barred na ‘to. Todo na talaga.” These words rang through my mind yesterday as I was reflecting on the huge feat achieved by Gilas Pilipinas’s silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championship. I remembered the moment I heard those words. I remembered sitting on a couch one May afternoon, listening intently to this man in front of me talk about his passion for basketball and his belief that Filipino hoops talent deserves to be on the world stage. “Qualifying to the FIBA World Cup is a dream,” said PBA Commissioner Chito Salud. “Alam naman ng lahat how strong China and Iran are. May Lebanon pa, at Jordan, at South Korea, but do we give up just because malalakas sila?””

Carlo Pamintuan of gmanetwork.com: “Moments like seeing veteran Filipino sport writers who have literally covered everything celebrate like crazy. I couldn’t help but smile as they disallowed each other from changing their positions because that might affect the game’s juju. Moments like seeing our peers from the media hugging it out with tears welling in their eyes. Not minding that everyone else was competition, not looking for the next scoop or the next exclusive interview. Moments like hearing the sound of 18,000 people chanting defense, urging Gilas to pull out one last stop. These moments are the ones that stick long after we forget about the details of this magical game.”

Rafe Bartholomew of Grantland: “The next Philippines possession wasn’t particularly pretty. The crowd was shell-shocked, and veteran point guard Jimmy Alapag dribbled away much of the shot clock, circling over high screens and trying to create any opportunity for his team. Late in the clock, Alapag faked his man into taking a step back, then rose for an off-the-dribble 3 that, in terms of degree of difficulty and chance of success, wasn’t that far off from the shot Tony Parker made over LeBron James near the end of Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Alapag’s jumper gave the Philippines a two-point lead and breathed life back into the crowd. Then, with 55 seconds left and Gilas still ahead by two, Alapag came off another ball screen and hit another 3-pointer to make the lead five. The crowd could smell it — people were already starting to hug and cry and squeeze each other’s shoulders hard enough to leave fingernail scratches behind. Korea got the ball to Kim one last time, and this time Gilas’s rangy stopper Gabe Norwood got a piece of Kim’s final attempt. The Bogeyman was stuffed, and seconds later, as the clock counted down to zero, the Philippine players and coaches rushed the court, embraced, and collapsed on the floor in utterly spent joy. The Philippines had finally beaten Korea.”

Sharwin Tee of Fiftypesoseats: “The vision of greatness Pangilinan, Toroman, Reyes and company saw was not the gold medal. It wasn’t even the 2014 World Cup slot. It’s Gilas whipping the crowd into a frenzy with a blitz that stunned Japan. It’s Japeth Aguilar dunking over the Qataris. It’s Marcus Douthit playing extended minutes on an injured shin against Hong Kong. It’s Gary David scoring 21 points to a chorus of ‘Gary! Gary! Gary!’ chants. It’s Jason Castro zipping by everyone. It’s Jimmy Alapag ending the Korean curse. It’s Marc Pingris outrebounding giants on one good leg. It’s Ranidel de Ocampo scoring inside only through guile. It’s the Philippines chanting ‘defense’ in the arena, at the sari sari store, barber shop, tricycle stand or at home. It’s a coaching staff led by Reyes who burst into tears at making history, making countless hours of scouting, teaching and watching videos worth it. It’s about foreign FIBA commentators marvelling at the Filipino skill and passion for basketball. It’s Asia recognizing and experiencing the Filipino’s signature hospitality.”

JC Ansis of Solarsportsdesk: “That night when we exorcised the ghost. That night when we finally gained redemption from the painful loss in the 2002 Asian Games. And that night when we secured our place in the FIBA World Cup. How could I forget the 18,000-plus strangers in that crowd, cheering and shouting their lungs out? Everyone was unified. All embraced with emotion.How could I forget the people from the media who couldn’t hide their exuberance, swapping high-fives with one another?Some cried, some hugging others – all forgetting for a brief moment that we were still on the job. Everybody was cloaked in emotion.“We finally made it!” I was trembling. I, too, was blanketed in emotion.The Philippines playing in the World Cup was playing over and over in my head. Twitter was flooded with “CONGRATS GILAS” and “WE’RE GOING TO SPAIN” tweets.That night, we were all beating one pulse.Coach Chot Reyes entered the media room after the historic win against Korea. And the first words he uttered were: “I still don’t know how we did it.”Neither did we, Coach.”

Nikko Ramos of Slam Philippines: “Throw away basketball for two seconds and just try to truly understand this magnificent run that we’re on right now. Stop, stay in the moment and just try your goddamn best to grasp what these men have done. 20,000 in an arena jumping, screaming, hugging strangers they would have never talked to before. Millions more at home hugging family members they haven’t hugged with passion in years. Strangers all across the country, retweeting and conversing online, sharing views with faceless avatars that they will never meet. And thousands of our countrymen in various places in the world, sometimes working the most menial jobs, lifting their heads up high, knowing their team, like them, is sacrificing for flag and for family. This goes beyond hoops. It goes past scoreboards and highlights. It’s an incredible tapestry of who we are, what we are and what we can be.”

Tepmags of Tepmags.blogspot.com: “Dear MVP, I’m a hater. I never liked you and I never had a reason to.Every single time I’d see you on the TV screen cheering for Talk ‘N Text, I’d make a face.Every single time I’d see you do that *clap* *clap* *clap*, I’d get so infuriated.Every single time I’d see you wear a yellow shirt to show support for your team, I’d roll my eyes.Those long balloons annoy the hell out of me.Those free TNT shirts make me cringe.Those talks about you hoarding tickets make me narrow my eyes into “feeling Chinese” slits.I was actually supposed to write an open letter for you during the last PBA Semfinals showdown between TNT and Ginebra, but I never got around to writing it because life happened.But life works in a funny manner sometimes. And this is one of those times.We just got through South Korea in the 27th FIBA Asia Semifinals, and here I am, wide awake at 1:24 am, typing away a letter for someone I dislike.”

Thank you Coach Chot, thank you Gilas, thank you Sir MVP. (Photo Credit: Hoo.ph)