GILAS Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes flew to Barcelona, Spain last Feb. 1 for the draw of the FIBA World Cup slated Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 in Seville. Three days later, the Philippines landed a slot in Group B, along with Croatia, Senegal, Greece, Puerto Rico and Argentina—most of them formidable teams.

With team manager Aboy Castro, Reyes was there every step of the way—from that day they finally beat South Korea in FIBA Asia to book the World Cup ticket to that day they were fated to be in Group B. He battled every adversity with the national team, had to pool together professional basketball players who were tied to their respective teams’ schedules.

It was almost the same story for Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao, who directed the Elastopainters to another Finals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup after lording it over other squads in 2012 for the Governor’s Cup title. But Guiao missed the all-important semifinals match that sealed his team’s finals-bound fate.

Guiao served a one-game suspension, coupled with a P100,000-peso fine, in Game 5 last Feb. 7 after being thrown out of the court following a technical foul meted out on him in Game 4. Guiao was relegated to watching Rain or Shine oust Petron Blaze Boosters, 97-88, on TV in Pampanga.

The spitfire coach, however, did not entirely abandon his squad, after his jon was taken over by the assistant coach. Guiao phoned at halftime to give instructions that could have spelled the difference for the Elastopainters, who would face the winner of the San Mig Coffee-Barangay Ginebra matchup in the Finals.

Mga sagisag ng Santo Tomas

Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao will again face Timothy Bradley on April 12 in Las Vegas. Pacquiao vows to “bring back the killer instinct” after losing to Bradley in a controversial split-decision ending in June 2012.

Bradley “embraced the challenge,” saying he’s “a lot more relaxed and poised” than the first time he and Pacquiao met. Pacquiao claims he’s “ready for anything” and that he only needs to win “convincingly,” knockout or decision.

They’re all men on a mission. Reyes seeks to bring a basketball-crazy nation past all the world-stage heartbreaks. Guiao needs to let cool heads prevail in the brawny PBA duels. And 35-year-old Pacquiao wants to secure the victory he has been robbed of.

These men need a “sixth man” or an extra teammate to boost their morale.

We don’t need to shell out cash to watch every game live at The Big Dome, or fly all the way to Spain, or move mountains to book a round-trip ticket to the Sin City. All we need is to maximize the power of social media and technology, and never let the avid sports fan in us go down with every loss or each hard blow.

A simple “good luck” or congratulatory twit could go a long way, a “we still believe in you” post after a hard-fought bout could surely lift spirits, especially at a level where a fan could turn into a critique after just an ill-advised shot taken or a mistimed hit given.

Reyes, Guiao, Pacquiao and all the other sports heroes could surely use the Filipino sixth man—one unfazed by loss—especially now.

Tale of two pretentious creatures


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