MANILA, Philippines — Para sa bayan.
If it’s for the Philippines, there’s no stopping GIlas Pilipinas big man Marcus Douthit from playing basketball. Not even injury.
As the home team dumped Qatar on Tuesday night, Douthit became a hot topic for those watching, as the naturalized center grimaced in pain after colliding with Khalid Abdi midway through the 3rd quarter.
The 6-foot-10’s right shin was immediately wrapped in ice packs and his face clearly showed labor. By then, most of us thought Douthit’s night — however good it has been — was over.
But fate had other plans and Qatar mounted a serious comeback, prompting Douthit to show one thing he learned from playing for the Philippines: the Filipino spirit.
The Providence alum battled through pain, hobbled up and down the court and even jumped for rebounds on one leg.
“I had to rest (my knee) when it got hurt,” Douthit told Rappler. “I can’t put too much on it. (But when coach put me back in) I got to play. It’s my job.”
With Douthit providing the inspiration and rebounding, Gilas was able to weather Qatar’s rally, upending the Gulf nation in a pulsating endgame. His resilience gained applause of the ever-appreciatvie thousands who gathered inside the Mall of Asia Arena.
For the Filipinos
The pain on Douthit’s face transformed into a huge smile as die-hard fans mobbed him after the match, inspiring the New York native to do more for the nation which embraced him wholeheartedly.
“Hopefully, we’ll gain rest. I’ll be back,” he said. “I’m good. If it’s coach’s decision, I will play.”
Douthit earlier told Rappler how hassle-free it was for him to move from the West to the East, saying that he may not be born nor raised in the Philippines, but it did not take long for him to fall in love with the country he now calls home.
And with the Philippines treading dangerous waters on Tuesday night, a one-legged Douthit channeled his “never-say-die” Filipino spirit and helped Gilas hold fort. Puso, indeed. – Rappler.com