Thoughts On The No Bearing Decision & Why Smart Gilas Should Stay

Ok sorry again for the late post. I can name a few excuses but let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

As of my last posting, there have been recent developments directly as a result of the PBA’s decision to declare Smart Gilas’ games as no – bearing, which we’ll get into later. For the moment, let’s analyze the PBA Press Release I posted 5 days ago, starting with:

Jong Uichico’s “It is unfortunate that the PBA teams play the National Team always looking to win.”

I am 100% convinced that what Jong Uichico wanted to say didn’t come out the way he said it. In other words, I think what he really meant was: “It is unfortunate that the PBA teams play the National Team always looking to win [at any cost, including using rough play]. That’s GOT to be what he really meant to say, right? I mean, the alternative, which is to read what he said face – value, means that he thinks PBA teams should play to lose when up against Smart-Gilas, which is stupid, and Jong Uichico is not stupid, right?

Why would the PBA Teams resort to rough play to win against Smart Gilas?

It makes sense. See, if he did mean to say that, it answers an important issue: Why would the PBA Teams resort to rough play to win against Smart Gilas? The answer is obvious – because they do not want what is considered a College team to win at because it will be a PR disaster for the PBA.

After I watched Smart-Gilas beat Powerade RP last month, I wrote about how bad their blowout loss was to them from a public relations point of view. Smart-Gilas after all, is not composed of PBA players, and PBA players are supposed to be the best in the country. If Smart Gilas performs well, or heaven forbid, actually win the 2009-10 PBA KFC Cup, it will rock the very foundations of the Philippine Basketball Association. How could a Pinoy non-PBA team composed of College recruits possibly win against professional teams? It’s like a D-League team beating the Lakers or the Celtics. It must not happen. It cannot be allowed. Hence the bullying tactics. It therefore makes sense for Uichico to say something like “It is unfortunate that the PBA teams play the National Team always looking to win [at any cost, including using rough play]. It’s the only way I can explain his comment, frankly.

Why Was CJ Giles Benched?

At this point I will tackle an issue in this mysterious Press Release. The first 3 paragraphs explained how PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios arrived at the decision to declare Smart Gilas games as no bearing. But the topic suddenly changed on the 4th paragraph, quoting Barrios as saying “We recognize that CJ Giles is a very vital part of the national team, the reason why he is considered as a candidate for naturalization for Filipino citizen.”

The sudden spotlight on CJ Giles seemingly comes from nowhere, as he wasn’t even mentioned previously. So apparently the games are no bearing because Giles isn’t allowed to play? Why? It goes on to say:

“Apparently, the decision to bench CJ Giles for most part of the game between Smart Gilas and Talk N’ Text last October 21, 2009 prompted PBA Board of Governors to revisit their earlier commitment with SBP and eventually supersede it with the new directive. Talk N’ Text won that game by a blowout, 103-70.”

But it still doesn’t say why he was benched. It’s confusing enough to be annoying. I therefore can’t help but assume that it was because opposing PBA teams found him as too much of a threat and so found a way to get him benched some way. Hey, if you can’t get an explanation from an official Press Release at that, then that’s almost an open door to make assumptions, right? How can you help it?

Why Else Would You Declare It No Bearing?

To revisit the previous reasoning that the PBA doesn’t want to lose to Smart-Gilas in any way, I put forth the question: Why else would the PBA declare these games as no bearing? Normally, in order for a team’s games to be declared as no bearing, it has to have violated a rule or two. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t seem to remember a declaration of any such wrongdoing. Did Smart Gilas field an ineligible player? Did they field in too many players? Too few players? Did they forget to wear an ID or sign a formal paper of some sort before the game? Did they forget to pay a game fee? Did they wear the wrong uniforms? Maybe the game officials botched things up so badly that the game was declared null and void? No, none of these occurred.

The only reason one can think the PBA would do that is to make it appear that they are doing Smart Gilas a favor by declaring their games as no bearing in the hope that the PBA teams wouldn’t employ dirty tactics against them. C’mon we’re all adults here. That’s the truth.

Something to think about though: I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Smart Gilas won instead of lost those games. Would they still be declared no – bearing?

No Bearing Doesn’t Change Things.

If the PBA Teams were playing rough against Smart Gilas, it’s obvious to me that declaring these games as no bearing isn’t any solution at all. Even if they were no bearing, games against Smart Gilas to my mind will still be played rough simply because the media would be declaring the scores and game results the same way as valid games anyway, and the public would be making their minds up about the PBA regardless of whether those games counted or not.

For example, if Smart Gilas happens to win against the PBA teams in the KFC Cup, I will still assume them to be better than any PBA team, even if none of their games counted. I couldn’t care less if their games were no bearing. That’s just a formality. A loss is a loss, a win is a win.

No Bearing Means Smart Gilas Is Not Welcome.

I wonder if the Board, which recommended the no bearing situation, thought of this. Let’s assume that you joined any sports tournament. Then for no reason whatsoever, the organizers said that any game you play in has no bearing. Wouldn’t you feel offended, and be right to assume they do not want you there?

I can imagine the same issue applies to Smart Gilas and the PBA. Imagine being told in the middle of the tournament, ‘Pare, ‘sensya na, pero di counted yung mga nilaro nyo.‘. Isn’t that essentially being told that you are wasting your time, and that if you’re looking for a good game, you won’t find it here?

It therefore comes as no surprise that Smart-Gilas is deciding / has decided to call it quits (I’m not sure if they’ve made a decision yet). The realization that the declarations of unity and a desire for the PBA to help them improve was all a sham would surely turn Smart Gilas off (or anyone off for that matter).

I Want Smart Gilas To Finish This Tournament

I was at the Araneta Coliseum when the PBA top brass along with Pilipinas Basketball, the PBL, the UAAP / NCAA etc. all declared themselves brothers with a common goal, in not so many words via speeches to that effect. Every big shot in Pinoy basketball was there, from the PBA Board to Manny Pangilinan, the whole UAAP and NCAA Boards, Nolie Eala, PBL Commissioner Trinidad, etc., in front of a televised crowd of thousands.

Apparently however, we were all subject to lies. I might as well have attended a typical political rally, with those running for office promising the Filipino people great things for the future. All the Philippine basketball leaders were all there, promising one another and anyone who would listen that they’re united in trying to form a National Team worthy of playing abroad. Only a few weeks later however, and it’s clear the PBA teams have no intention of letting that happen.

At this stage there is nothing I want more than to see Smart Gilas continue to play in the PBA KFC Cup. I want them to play, and I want them to win, no bearing or not. I’ve already explained how I feel the declaration of their games as no bearing wouldn’t matter anyway, since we the fans will be seeing the results just as well.

I want them to play like they’re the bastard son of a man refusing to recognize them. I want them to play like they’re the team no one wants to see win (it’s true anyway), and fight tooth and nail for every point, every rebound, every steal, every stat in each and every play. I want them to play like they were the unwanted team no one wants to recognize and everyone is wishing isn’t there. I want them to play like the team the tournament organizers are blatantly changing the rules for so they can kick them out the door.

Why? Because that’s exactly what’s going on! Smart-Gilas is the team the PBA belatedly realized was good enough to beat them, and they are now trying to get rid of after that fact sank in. It is therefore appropriate for Smart-Gilas to treat their rude hosts the only way they should. Faced with the opportunity to stay, Smart Gilas should take full advantage of it and spank their rude hosts for mistreating them. It is but right.

And if they don’t, and end up losing? It’s ok. It’d still be worthwhile to watch them, knowing they’re sincerely playing to win. And if you think about it, a team with any level of sincerity is already a small victory in the PBA.