MANILA, September 11, 2014–The Catholic bishops’ leadership called on Filipinos to draw inspiration from the Philippine basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, in promoting justice and unity in the country.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President, lauded the performance of Gilas Pilipinas and urged the public to ‘nurture’ their recent feat through deeds that would the benefit the nation.
“Gilas has sowed seeds of goodwill, understanding, and friendship. Let all nurture their flourishing with hearts of goodwill, thoughts of peace and feet firmly treading the ways of friendship,” said Villegas said in a statement.
He noted the national team played fairly during the FIBA World Cup in Spain despite having clear disadvantage and experience compared to their high-ranked opponents such as Croatia, Greece, Argentina, and Puerto Rico.
The archbishop said such principles can be applied to the country, including the government, amidst injustices that beset many Filipinos.
“Fairness that goes by the sublime name of justice is the fundamental aspiration of our nation. It is the hope of the CBCP that as the nation understood the necessity that games be fairly played, it also learned the precious lesson that whether in the life of the individual or of the community or of the State, things ought to be fair just at all times,” he said.
Similarly, Villegas emphasized how Filipino players embraced camaraderie, brotherhood, and sportsmanship with other teams.
“We can overcome the differences that set us apart when we set our hearts to it. When we choose to be friendly towards each other, even if we must compete, we can all have fun. Happier and fuller lives come with the acceptance of others and with a healthy respect for differences,” said Villegas.
Last week, Gilas Pilipinas made history after capturing the first win for the Philippines in the quadrennial world basketball tournament in 40 years after toppling Senegal, 81-79, in overtime.
The win over Senegal capped what has been a mix of heartbreaking and astonishing stint for the Gilas Pilipinas in the prestigious tournament, where it captured the world’s attention despite last minute collapses in their earlier games.
“We may not have reaped a harvest of victories, but Gilas certainly won the admiration of many, Filipinos and foreigners alike,” said the archbishop.
“The CBCP commends the members of the team and joins an ecstatic nation in hailing their admirable endeavor! Our victories have been sweet, our defeats, honorable!” added Villegas. (CBCPNews)