PBA salutes Gilas Pilipinas
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MANILA, Philippines -- PBA commissioner Chito Salud said the pro league will pay Gilas Pilipinas a special tribute for fulfilling the country's dream of ending 35 years of absence in the world championship.
"We'll work on that. We'll give them a special toast. We'll present our heroes to our fans most probably on Sunday," Salud told The STAR.
The pro league had a huge contribution in Gilas Pilipinas' success, revising approved policies and season calendar to accommodate PBA stars' participation in the country's quest in the Asian joust.
All Gilas Pilipinas players, except Marcus Douthit, are from the PBA.
The PBA leadership themselves are overjoyed by Gilas' feat.
"We are living a dream. The country's heart has been inspired by Gilas and filled with nothing but pride and overwhelming joy," said the league commissioner.
It's the best showing by a PBA-backed national team in Asian basketball since the silver-medal finish of the Robert Jaworski-mentored Philippine team to the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.
Coach Norman Black and his team were fourth placers in the Hiroshima Asiad in 1994, coach Tim Cone's Centennial squad was third in Bangkok in 1998, and coach Jong Uichico's troops were fourth in Busan in 2002.
A PBA selection missed the Final Four of an Asian joust for the first time in Tokushima in 2007.
Coach Chot Reyes was the coach of that ill-fated squad but he has got his redemption here.
In 2009, coach Yeng Guiao and his squad finished ninth in Tianjin.
A PBA selection with a naturalized reinforcement proved to be a winning formula for the Philippines in the 2013 FIBA Asia wars.
How do they handle Gilas Pilipinas' participation in the 2014 World Cup in Spain?
"Let's enjoy our success in the FIBA Asia Championship first. We'll take care of business when the right time comes," said Salud.