MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said that the valiant 96-87 victory of the Gilas Pilipinas against defending champions China was obviously ‘politically motivated’.
An undermanned Philippine national men’s basketball team stunned defending champions China, 96-87, to get off to a rousing start to its 2017 FIBA Asia Cup campaign on Wednesday at Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut, Lebanon.
Terrence Romeo erupted for 26 points as he drained cold-blooded shots that warded off the Chinese rally and kept Gilas Pilipinas afloat.
“So there are some whose political objective is to shame China. That’s why their basis is for or against China,” he said in a media conference after the game.
“Is your objective to shame China or confront them, or is your objective is to win the FIBA ASIA championship,” the secretary asked, referring to the baskets late in the game that Romeo made that sealed the fate of China.
Cayetano also revealed that the Department of Foreign Affairs has already issued a formal diplomatic apology for Calvin Abueva’s headbutt to China’s Li Gen.
“On behalf of our entire nation, I would like to apologize to our friends in China for Mr. Abueva’s unsportsmanlike actions last night,” the communique reads. “It may seem like a casus belli, but I want to assure everyone, especially our Chinese overlords, that it is not.”
In response to this, China wants the Philippines to avoid citing the FIBA Asia 2017 upset victory in any official statement that will be issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Chinese officials asked us nicely to avoid any reference to the August 09, 2017 decision handed down by International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in Lebanon, which invalidated China’s attempted comeback in the fourth quarter,” Cayetano said.
He added, “The Philippines does not want to shame China as everybody would like to find a “peaceful resolution” to the issues hounding the region.”