The BAP sought help from the FIBA, asking the world governing body for basketball to overturn the expulsion decision. FIBA, however, suspended the Philippines from participating in all FIBA-sanctioned events worldwide.
As a result, the Philippines convincingly won the 23rd SEA Games last year, without basketball.
Worse, with this FIBA suspension, the country missed its chance to fight for one of two slots in the world championship in Saitama City, Japan, this year. The Philippines would have won that berth, which went to Malaysia. With the FIBA suspension also comes the Philippine’s disqualification from sending a team to the next Asian Games.
Such a sad, sad state since given the eligibility of players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) the Philippines is considered as a basketball powerhouse in this part of the world.
But look at it this way. The Philippines would never dominate world basketball anyway, because it’s a game deliberately skewed in favor of tall caucasian or African-Amenrican people. Without this suspension, huge efforts and resources were also being poured into winning just one team medal.
The 23rd SEA Games allowed this country to pour resources into other sports the public did not know we could do well. Corporations, instead of competing or even focussing on basketball, sponsored other sports where the medal harvest is easily more than 100% than that sport we adore, albeit blindly.
This fiasco therefore has a bright side. It cured us of our basketball obsession (even addiction) and allowed Philippine sports, as a whole, to finally come into its own. Maybe a basketball-less Philippines will also do better in the next Asian Games. Or the next Olympics, perhaps? Who knows?
(Some facts taken from the Spectator Column “Wondrous PBA innovation” by Al Mendoza, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05 January 2006.)