After a grueling campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo, Japan, the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team got a homecoming surprise when they were greeted by their families upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday.
Unbeknownst to members of the team, their wives, girlfriends, children, and other relatives were waiting at the NAIA VIP room to give them a warm welcome. Apart from hugs and kisses, the family members also put up streamers and gave the national players roses.
The team finished fourth in the FIBA Asia Cup, dropping its last assignment against Qatar. But the surprise welcome helped soothe the pain of the loss for the players and coaches, who had spent the past week and a half in Japan.
“Feels really good, at least our efforts were appreciated kahit ‘di champion,” said SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes.
“At the end of the day, it’s family that will soothe your heartaches,” added assistant coach Jong Uichico.
Reyes, meanwhile, chose to look at the positive aspects of the team’s campaign.
“This is only the team’s second try,” he said. “The boys did their best, but in spite of the defeat, our team is in high spirits, and hopefully, we will do better next year.”
» Beau Belga should be considered for Philippine national team, says Rain or Shine owner
» Arwind Santos, Calvin Abueva lead PBA stars asked to help train Philippine team
» Amid tensions in Taiwan, Philippine team invitation to Jones Cup still stands