Azkals: The death of basketball?By Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.comPosted at 07/06/2011 6:28 PM | Updated as of 07/07/2011 4:02 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Football is back - and with a bang - thanks to the Philippine Azkals, who may force basketball into oblivion.
In his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday, Amando Doronila said “the revival of football means so much for sports-minded Filipinos. It means we are breaking away from the dominance of basketball—a syndrome that has stunted us from developing athletic prowess in other sports…”
Anthropologist Michael Tan agreed, saying “I like this new focus on football. For decades we have been too fixated on basketball but in terms of international competitiveness, we just don’t have it.”
He went on to say that football very much fits a Filipino’s temperament, like that of the Latin Americans.
He said this temperament is “passionate and ebullient, but also modulated by introspection and constant strategizing.” More importantly, there is more of team play, he averred.
In contrast, in basketball, the player should have a lot of “diskarte” and make do with a small court. Sometimes, “basketball players convert the court into a stage…often ending up so engrossed with individual performance that they lose sight of team play.”Basketball not for Filipinos?
Doronila even thought of the 4-to-0 win of the Azkals against the Sri Lanka Red Braves on Sunday as a “massacre,” noting “the locals bombarded the Sri Lankan goal with an impunity and élan seen often in the big league World Cup teams.”
The Azkals' win on Sunday brings the country to the second of six qualifying rounds of the World Cup. The team will face the more-experienced Kuwait on July 23 and 28.
Tan said even professional football player Neko Lambey is “gung-ho” about the team reaching Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where the 2014 World Cup will be held.
Doronila said the country is finally starting to demonstrate that Filipinos can play, and even win, on the playing field where they are not physically handicapped.
“In basketball, we are born losers and we are likely to be doomed to remain a basket case and waste our energies. It is a sport whose only function is to encourage puerile intercollegiate athletic competition, where pride rests on performance in basketball games,” he said.Achieving the “goal”
To be able to achieve such goals, however, Tan said there is a need for support both from the government and the private sector.
Sports analyst Boyet Sison agreed, saying that upgraded facilities, funding for players and good coaches could finally push the sport back into the Filipino’s senses. Sison is also the host of ANC’s Hardball.
He disagreed, however, that football can overshadow basketball in a country that relies heavily on “visuals.”
“I think, for now, that football is experiencing a resurgence...It helped that the Azkals are fueling the imagination of the public now because they’re making history,” he said.
There may be a downtrend in the ticket sales for certain basketball leagues, but the Filipinos’ love for basketball will always be there, he said.
“Basketball and football can coexist. In terms of training, a football player can do as well in basketball because of [his or her] stamina,” he said.
On one hand, basketball and football should not even be compared, he said. “For one, you’re also talking about pitch conditions…In basketball, they’re always up to standards.”
For football to co-exist with basketball, the private sector should already come in, he said.
Sison said the sport is ready for “commercialization,” which would provide better television and print mileage as well as “create a profession, livelihood for players.”
Already, television is bombarded with advertisements of the Azkals: brothers Phil and James Younghusband are promoting a clothing line as well as a fast-food chain, team captain Aly Borromeo for an underwear line, and striker Chieffy Caligdong for a food supplement.
The advertisements are also wide-ranging, with the Azkals even promoting a brand of condiments.Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/sports/07/06 ... basketball