MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would personally watch Gilas Pilipinas games in the FIBA World Cup set in Foshan, China later this August.
But in the same speech, he lightheartedly predicted that the Philippine team would surely lose its first game against Italy.
"Wala talaga tayo. We will lose dito sa Italian. Ang lalaki kaya ng mga gagong 'yan!," he said on Tuesday, August 6, during a speech in Malacañang in front of Chinese-Filipino businessmen.
(We are nothing. We would lose here against the Italians. Those fools are so big!)
But he was equally confident Gilas Pilipinas would win over Angola, which it would face for its 3rd game.
"Ang next natin, Angola. Ah, ito pwede natin ilibing nang buhay (Our next game is Angola. Ah, we can bury them alive)," said Duterte.
The Philippines vs Italy game would be played on August 31. Gilas' second game, would be versus Serbia on September 2. Its game versus Angola is scheduled on September 4.
It was not clear if Duterte would watch all the Philippine games.
Duterte was also proud to say no less than Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan would accompany him to watch the games.
"Samahan ako ng vice president mismo ng China doon sa basketball. Biro mo, it's a break in protocol," said the Philippine leader.
(The Chinese president himself will go with me to watch basketball. It's a break in protocol.)
Other reasons to visit China
But there are other reasons Duterte will visit China again. In the same speech, he said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to bring up the Hague ruling.
He's also headed to Fujian province because a university there put up a building in honor of his late mother, Soledad Roa Duterte.
"I'm going there to inaugurate that," said the President.
Malacañang previously said the President's trip would be a working visit, a type of official trip in which the government will pay for most, if not all, the expenses. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.