FOSHAN, China—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte showed his full support to Gilas Pilipinas as the team face off against Italy for the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup on Saturday, August 31, at the GBA International Sports and Cultural Center here.
Prior to the game, the President visited Gilas Pilipinas in the locker room and cheered for the Philippine team.
He then greeted the coaches and the players with a handshake, telling them he really wanted to see Gilas Pilipinas after his official visit in Beijing, China.
“We are here — actually maraming Congressman pati maraming Pilipino ngayon, Chinese-Filipino — and we are here to give you the spirit to fight. Kaya natin ‘to,” the President said.
The Chief Executive also assured Gilas Pilipinas that he would pray for the team’s victory.
“We will be praying for your victory. Nandito ako. Basta bigay ninyo lahat, susuporta kami. Whatever it is. Basta ako para sa inyo, nandito ako,” he said assuring the Philippine team.
Meanwhile, China’s Vice President Wang Qishan paid a courtesy call on President Duterte before the start of the game.
The President watched from the VIP deck of the GBA International Sports and Cultural Center and, during the halftime break, he waved at the Filipinos who were also watching the game.
Vice President Wang was also present during the basketball match.
Also present to give support to Gilas Pilipinas were Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and other members of the Philippine delegation.
While losing to Italy, 108-62, Gilas Pilipinas has demonstrated its ability to make plays against world-class competition.
The cagers from the Philippines will face Serbia next on Monday night. PND