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Hurting Gilas PH vows to improve

‘’IT hurts.’’

This was how national team coach Tab Baldwin summed up how Gilas felt after it fell short of winning the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsa, China and losing an outright spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Although Malacañang Palace and the entire nation commended the nationals for their gallant performance in the tournament where they settled for the silver medal, Baldwin still couldn’t hide the disappointment and sadness that he and the players feel after failing to achieve their ultimate goal.

“We’re still very down. There’s just nobody in there that feels content with the result and the performance. We’re still all disappointed we fell short,’’ said Baldwin.

Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized star Andray Blatche displays his silver medal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. The Philippine team is coming off a silver-medal performance in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China. ERIC APOLONIO

Still, Baldwin said he appreciates the support of Filipinos, which he said somehow eases the pain a little bit.

“It’s a tough feeling, but we’re just blessed that we have the prayers that come to us from the Filipinos, our families and those who love us. That really means a lot,’’ he said. ‘’I don’t feel like we let them down, but we’re down and disappointed. We’re hurting for ourselves, for our Filipinos, for MVP and for everyone who supports us.’’

Smart Gilas will now look forward to future significant Asian and international tournaments as Baldwin remains optimistic of Gilas Pilipinas’ future.

“We’re looking forward to our next opportunities. We need to figure out a way to further improve and I believe we will be able to do that.’’

Gilas starter Gabe Norwood echoed his coach’s sentiments on his Twitter account.

“Heart hurts, but thanks to those that support Gilas. Another opportunity in July to get to Rio,’’ said Norwood.

The Philippines, which still qualified for next year’s FIBA Qualifying Tournament, lost to China, 78-67, in the gold-medal game Saturday night.

“We certainly worked hard, we certainly fought hard, but the game didn’t go our way. We’re thinking we had an opportunity and we didn’t quite measure up for whatever reason,’’ said Baldwin.

The entire team is now back home after arriving yesterday and all players and coaches are expected to take a brief rest before returning to their mother teams as the Philippine Basketball Association season looms ahead in less than two weeks.

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