Qatar hero Musa asks for PH support vs Korea
MANILA, Philippines -- Qatar fell to Gilas Pilipinas on Tuesday night, August 6 before a crowd that constantly stymied them with loud shouts and boos for most of the game.
Less than a day after that, though, Filipinos made a complete about-face after realizing that Qatar actually held the Philippines' hopes of topping Group E and earning a relatively easier matchup come the quarterfinals.
With this, Qatar's daunting task of downing erstwhile unbeaten Chinese Taipei became even more vital as Pinoys -- inside the Mall of Asia Arena, at home and in office -- cheered hard for the Qataris to push us to #1.
And the Gulf nation happily obliged, edging Chinese Taipei, 71-68, in front of a predominantly Filipino crowd who rooted for them all the way at the venue.
"We just wanted to win, but we're happy to be kind to our hosts," candidly said head coach Thomas Wisman after being embraced by home fans here.
From villain to hero
Yasseen Ismail Musa struggled against Gilas and complained at times, hearing it badly from the huge crowd at the arena. The next day, though, he was the hero and led his team to the big win with 20 points and 19 rebounds.
"I always love the Filipino fans," Musa said. "Last night, they cheered for the Philippines, which is normal. But today, it was us. So that is what's fun about basketball."
And with the knockout round starting Friday, August 9, Musa asks for another wave of support from the home crowd.
"Our goal is to make it to the World Cup," he added. "Hopefully, they can support us against Korea, too."
Wisman for President?
Wisman himself couldn't hide his excitement after turning from public enemy #1 to local heroes who helped us get a clear path to the top seed.
"We're very popular in the Philippines now," he shared. "I expect us to be invited back!"
Wisman earlier told media that he would be happy to run for president here after all the support they have received.
"I think I can run for President of the Philippines now," he said, drawing laughter from the press. "I might get a few votes." - Rappler.com