|At Hwaseong Sports Complex during Asian Games Incheon 2014|
As of writing this article, Philippines is not in the best position in terms of the latest medal tally achieved at the 2014 Asian Games held at Incheon, South Korea. I personally witnessed how our athletes compete against the towering and well-prepared representatives of other competing countries in different field of sports. The Filipino most-loved sports, the basketball, has been especially supported by the Filipino migrants, mostly OFWs, here in South Korea.
Last September 28, 2014, I traveled from Paju to Hwaseong Sports Complex to witness the most crucial game of the Philippines Men's Basketball team Gilas Pilipinas. It took me 3 hours to reach the venue. I arrived at around 1 pm, that is two hours before the scheduled game against Kazakhstan, and I cannot believe what I saw. For one second, I thought I was in the Philippines. The place was so congested with a lot of Filipino trying to get their way to the window to buy their tickets. It was crazy and somebody told me that the same thing happened during the previous four games of Gilas Pilipinas. The Philippines may not be able to win the medal or even listed on the top 10, but the support of Filipino fans here in South Korea is priceless and I guess our athletes appreciate that so much.
|A very congested and long line to the ticket booth for Gilas Pilipinas versus Kazakhstan basketball game|
Sadly, not everybody had been given the chance to watch the match of Gilas Pilipinas against Kazakhstan because of the limited number of tickets. The management already posted a big "SOLD OUT" sign in the window but we know Filipinos, we are as stubborn as the hollow blocks, some spectators did not leave the already distorted line still hoping they could buy tickets.
|Ticket Booths with Sold Out Sign|
For some good reason, I was able to secure one ticket for myself from an unknown person. As soon as the game started, Filipino fans started to make a big noise in the arena. In fact, 90 percent of the audience are Filipinos. I saw some audience from Kazakhstan and some Koreans, but majority of the audiences were Filipinos. Each has their own way of cheering to our team.
|Filipino fans eagerly watching the game of gilas Pilipinas|
It was an intense game I may say. There are two conditions in order for the Philippines to enter the semifinal round. First is to beat Kazakhstan in at least 11 points lead and second is for Team Korea to beat Qatar. Filipino fans went frenzy everytime Gilas Pilipinas scored. From first quarter to fourth quarter, Philippine Team always on the lead. The game has ended with a 67-65 score, Gilas won by two points but not qualified to enter the semifinals.
|Douthit of Gilas Pilipinas trying to shot the ball amidst the towering players of Kazakhstan|
For the replay of the game of Gilas Pilipinas versus Kazakhstan, CLICK HERE.
Our basketball team and other athletes in other field of sports at the 2014 Asian Games did their best in their respective events, but unfortunately their best were not good enough to bring home a medal. However, I know we are still winner because of the support of Filipino fans here in Korea. If you happen to be in the venue, you will see how Pinoys went extra miles to show their support to our team. I have spotted this guy who is holding a board where he cursively wrote "PUSO & UTAK".
|Pinoy OFW in Korea holding something to inspire our athletes|
Some took pride by holding the Philippine flag and waved it all over the venue.
|Philippine flag at Hwaseong sports Complex|
And some even wore it.
|The Philippine flag|
Even kids showed their support to the Philippines by parading their mini version of our flags.
|Kids with Philippine flag|
After the games, although disappointed with the result, Filipino still made it sure to the athletes that it was completely ok by waiting for them outside the gym for photo opp and autographs which had caused too much havoc that management needs to call a group of policemen to control the crazy Filipino fans.
|Fans trying to break in to get a glimpse of Gilas Pilipinas players|
It was such a difficult but fun experience. I know for sure because I was there. It's difficult to jostled against the crowd just to get a glimpse of our athletes but fun because we showed to the whole Asian countries how we love and how we support our players.
|Filipino Crowd supporting Filipino athletes in Asian Games Incheon|
There are about 4 days left before the closing of the Asian Games here in South Korea and we hope no more to win this event. I would say we are hypocrite if we will claim we're not disappointed, but one thing is for sure, our athletes were not able to get a medal for our country but the Filipino fans ROCK!!!... Invading the spectators' bench is an understatement. The cheers, the noise, the banners and the never-say-die attitude of Filipino fans make Philippines the real winner in the 2014 Asian Games.