MANILA, Philippines – Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan was more than happy to admit he judged his federation too early after Gilas Pilipinas reclaimed the gold in 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games basketball with a revenge win over souped-up host Cambodia.
Speaking on News5’s Frontline Pilipinas, the longtime sports patron popularly known as “MVP” said in his congratulatory text message to national team head coach Chot Reyes that he “was happy to eat the harsh words” he tweeted earlier about Gilas’ preliminary defeat to Cambodia.
“I’m very happy to be proven wrong,” Pangilinan said.
Last Thursday, May 11, minutes after Gilas suffered a rare SEA Games preliminary loss to the American-laden Cambodian team, Pangilinan took to Twitter in an unexpected public display of disappointment, saying that the “ignominious defeat will be etched deeply in infamy.”
Tempers even flared late in the game, as Cambodia national team head coach Harry Savaya ignited the losing Gilas side with a late timeout for the sole purpose of rubbing in the looming win.
Fortunately for the SBP, Gilas bounced back when it mattered most, as it outhustled the controversial host nation with an 80-69 golden finish in the SEA Games’ penultimate day.
The national team – long known as the undisputed best in the region – rebounded from the shocking silver-medal finish last year in the Vietnam SEA Games.
Head coach Chot Reyes officially retired from SEA Games competition again a champion, and the SBP saved itself from the wrath of its top benefactor and longtime leader.
All’s well that ends well for all camps involved. – Rappler.com
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