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Off the PBA court: When reading a sports story can be a bummer  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 14/03/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) usually, you read the sports pages because they tell of victories more than anything. they tell how those victories were carved out and how gallant the losers fought to the bitter end

Usually, you read the sports pages because you want to feel good about something, you want to feel good reading stories that tell of the triumph of the human spirit and then you laud the effort of the vanquished who tried just as hard

Usually, you tend to shy away from reading the front page first ? especially in the philippines ? because of so many stories that tell how sinful the human being can be

The pork barrel scandal here, the ?supertyphoon yolanda? casualties there and the ensuing acts of politicians that tried enriching themselves at the expense of the poor victims, and then the latest, the delfin lee housing scam that pins an alleged p7 billion loan from a government agency to the mastermind

you read the front page and it instantly ruins your day, most especially if you see how several individuals can burst into the headlines by being accused of amassing billions of pesos by swindling poor people

That's why the sports page is the most read section of the paper. there is always good news in the sports page. well, not recently, i'm afraid


Greg slaughter and marcio lassiter both turned down invitations by coach chot reyes to join the gilas pilipinas national basketball pool, citing reasons that sounded valid enough

Both said that they didn't like to take away spots from players who worked hard from the very beginning ? from the team's formation two years ago to its second place finish in the fiba-asia championship that meant a return to the world stage for the first time in almost four decades

?i know how that feels,? slaughter said when he faced the media last week, informing the country of his decision

?greg and i didn't talk. i don't know what he said,? lassiter quipped when asked why he and slaughter had the same reason for turning down the invitation

Their decisions were commendable on one side and downright unpatriotic on another

For how could these two gentlemen turn down offers to play for flag and country and not be selfish about it

Playing for the national team obviously is not an obligation here in the philippines. it is simply a privilege that one can readily turn down or, in the case of the others before them in the gilas pilipinas program, wholeheartedly accept

That's why it's sad to hear them say that they are giving way for the others who were there from the very beginning. a stint in the world cup is a stint in the world cup whichever way you look at it. and it certainly can happen just once in one's career

The original 12 players certainly deserve to be there, because they've worked their buns out for flag and country just to be able to take the philippines to that tournament

But what about the 60-plus million other filipinos who want to see them play there, the population that wants the philippines to be represented by the best team possible in the biggest basketball arena in the globe


Because of their reasons, do we now call paul lee, jared dillinger and even beau belga selfish for accepting their respective invitations and potentially taking away spots from three players who were there from the start

Reyes named the three along with slaughter and lassiter as the new additions to the program two weeks ago

And it is already common knowledge that the new team that reyes is building will not only play in the world cup, but in the asian games as well, which made reyes remark ?what spots are they talking about?

We will not win the world cup, definitely, but we definitely have a shot at being the kings of asia again come the inchon, south korea games in late-september

I really hope that we do win the gold there, what with the potential arrival of nba veteran andrey blatche into the lineup as the new naturalized center of the gilas pilipinas program

It would be a sweet sight to see the philippine team on the podium after the basketball wars with its players having a hand on their chests while the ?lupang hinirang? is being played

If that happens, slaughter and lassiter just missed the chance of being basketball immortals in the philippines.


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