President Rodrigo Duterte will watch the upcoming Gilas Pilipinas game in the FIBA World Cup hoping that his prediction that the Philippine team would lose would be wrong, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained that Duterte’s earlier statement about Gilas losing to Italy was meant to “inspire” them to prove him wrong.
“The statement of the President that most likely you would lose should be a challenge to you and should inspire you to make him wrong and he will be very happy,” Panelo said in a press conference in Beijing, China on Wednesday.
Panelo said Duterte would love that the Philippine players would win over a “mighty” team like Italy.
He, meanwhile, quipped about Gilas winning since the President will be watching to support them.
“Feeling ko matatalo (ang) Italy. Mananalo yan dahil andun si Presidente (I feel like Italy will lose. Gilas will win because the President will be there),” Panelo said.
“Let’s hope for the best,” he added.
Duterte is scheduled to watch Gilas compete against Italy at the International Sports and Cultural Arena in Foshan City on Saturday.
He will be accompanied by Vice President Wang Qishan.
Last Aug. 6, Duterte joked about the Philippine team losing against Italy since they had taller players.
“Wala, talo tayo, walang laban. Sa China na lang tayo magpusta. We will lose sa Italy. Ang lalaki kaya ng mga g*g*ng ‘yan (We will lose, we don’t have a chance. Let’s just bet on China. We will lose to Italy. They are too big),” Duterte said.
On Sunday, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) released the final lineup for Gilas Pilipinas Men in the FIBA World Cup.
In a tweet moments after Gilas Men’s tuneup game against the Adelaide 36ers at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City, the SBP named Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Andray Blatche, Robert Bolick, June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, RR Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, and Troy Rosario to the “Final 12”. (PNA)