The day after Gilas Pilipinas silenced the crowd in Hangzhou to win their first basketball gold in the Asian Games after 61 long years, it seems many Filipinos continued to revel in the victory, including former national team coach Chot Reyes. Over the last few games of the tournament, photos of Reyes went viral on social media, as he was shown celebrating the team’s victories while watching on his smartphone. While many netizens mocked the coach in comments sections, it seemed a more prominent Philippine figure had his own choice words.
Super Cop speaks up
No less than former Senator and Chief of Police Panfilo “Ping” Lacson himself cross-posted on his social media channels about the Gilas victory, but it wasn’t in mere celebration. It was more of a glaring insight on the virtue and value of leadership, and some would say a clear jab at Chot Reyes. The post said:
“What does Gilas Pilipinas winning the Asian Basketball championship after the team’s pathetic FIBA finish tell us? Leadership matters.”
On X (formerly Twitter), the tweet garnered over 1,500 Likes as of writing. Meanwhile on Facebook, in what seems to be a screenshot of the tweet, the post drew over 10,000 positive reactions and over 1,500 shares, aside from hundreds of comments. Many of the comments agreed with Lacson.
Apples and Oranges
However, some netizens did point out that comparing the caliber of competition in the Asian Games to FIBA’s is akin to comparing apples and oranges. Some went as far as nitpicking the roster differences, and the little time Jordan Clarkson and crew were given to practice together.
Everyone seemed to throw in their opinion in the mix, pointing out the uninspired play of the Gilas team in FIBA, and how that seemed to be a direct effect of having Chot Reyes at the helm.
Both could be true, and may lead to an ultimately inconclusive discussion only hoopheads can appreciate. If there was anything everyone seemed to agree on, it was that Coach Tim Cone did a great job. Kudos to Coach Tim. He deserves all the flowers.
The echo of leadership
It also seemed inevitable, with Lacson being the conversation-starter, that things would get political. Some commenters pointed out that Chot Reyes was a “Pinklawan” – not that that should matter to Lacson. Many still remember Lacson’s failed 2022 presidential run, and may push to read between the lines. After all, Lacson’s affiliation (Partido Reporma) did leave him for the Leni Robredo campaign, which also failed.
Onto a more relevant application of the virtue of leadership, other commenters wished for the same in the realm of governance. One comment responded to Lacson’s tweet:
“Sana nga, maapply din lalo sa pagboto. If the right leaders win (not the corrupt ones, not the thieves, liars), the country also wins. Big time.”
Why can’t we all just along?
At the end of the day, we as Filipinos should celebrate Gilas Pilipinas’ victory as a nation. Shouldn’t all of us be equally happy about the results of the Asian Games, without throwing anyone under the bus?
Not to say Lacson carried out a malicious attack on Chot Reyes. After all, we should continue to scrutinize the leadership of the country’s most famed (and heavily funded) sports program. Lacson had also been famously anti-corruption, and national funding for sports has always been a hot topic.
Alas, if our politicians (active and former) and sports leaders/management can’t get along, there’s still one thing we can continue to do as fans and as Filipinos. And that is of course to support our athletes. Whether you’re a basketball fan or not, you should be happy Gilas won the gold after over six decades. They also weren’t the only ones who bagged medals for the country.
Sports has always been a unifier for people across the world, and basketball should be no different. And these trying times should be no different. Whether you agree with Ping Lacson, sympathize with Chot Reyes, or simply just want to see our Gilas boys continue to do well, hopefully you’ll never forget that part. In sports, we can all win.