Sun.Star Cebu

Bad breaks did us in

- AL S. MENDOZA also147@yahoo.com

Even the fact that our team was just three weeks old when it went to war isn’t reason to exalt our fifth-place placing. We practicall­y play the game 12 months a year. It’s virtually the oxygen we breath, next to Philippine air.

We finished fifth in Asiad basketball and we are celebratin­g. What is there to celebrate about? That we routed Syria by 54 points to snatch fifth?

You win by one point or 100 points, no difference there. Both are called victories, period.

For, did a fifth-place finish give us a medal?

Not even a basketball bronze, which we had won last in the Bangkok Asiad of 1998, when we barely eked out a victory over Kazakhstan through the last-minute heroics of Jojo Lastimosa.

Sometimes, we don’t know what differenti­ates genuine glory from fake honor.

We can’t seem to distinguis­h a nation’s true pride anymore.

So that we might even call our basketball’s fifth-place worthy of a medal—that of a medal of valor?

OK, we finished two rungs better than our seventh-place windup in the 2014 Incheon Games.

If that’s something to crow about, go on, I won’t stop you.

An improvemen­t is an improvemen­t is an improvemen­t.

But to trumpet it as if we’ve scored big on our national passion would be way out of line, anytime.

Even the fact that our team was just three weeks old when it went to war isn’t reason to exalt our fifth-place placing. We practicall­y play the game 12 months a year. It’s virtually the oxygen we breath, next to Philippine air.

Send even a collegiate team to the Asian Games and it might yet give headaches to the opposition.

Wasn’t that proven when we fielded the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the last Taiwan Jones Cup?

We’ve become so good and too fearsome in the sport that every basketball squad we dispatch for overseas battles would come home in one whole piece. We lose, yes, but not really that badly battered.

Our world-renowned prowess, despite our lack in height and heft, immediatel­y showed in the Asiad when we ripped Kazakhstan in our opening game.

Then, if not for bad breaks, we almost downed China. We lost a three-point lead with seconds left and that 82-80 defeat practicall­y cost us the crown.

The sure win denied us by China would have thrown South Korea out of our way and given us a lighter opponent in the quarterfin­als.

Breaks, the bad ones. That’s what did us in.

They hit us, derailing, sadly, the last-minute inclusion into our team of Jordan Clarkson.

Nice try.

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