SPORTS
By Gelo Gonzales 8194 views
Photos courtesy of Spin.PH

I have tickets but I also have work. How do I get out of the office?
Stomachaches won’t get you a day off of work to catch a game. Instead, play the Filipino pride card for all its worth. Tell your boss that it’s the first time for the country to host the event in 40 years, and that the team obviously needs you and your high-pitched screaming within the court’s vicinity to have a chance of winning!

How do we cheer?
Loudly. Just avoid racial slurs, everyone, and try keeping it classy. We’ll be seeing a whole boatload of other nationalities (click here to familiarize yourself with the best), for which we have ready-made names that won’t go well with FIBA’s governing bodies and the international community in general. It’s a chance for us to show the world that we’ve made a few right steps towards civility!

Where can I find a cheat sheet of everyone who’s playing in the tournament?
If you sometimes catch yourself pretending as a grizzled basketball scout, the first thing you have to do is to, well, know the players’ names. In a tournament featuring teams that really don’t get shoved into our faces as much as the next NBA team, a list like this one here that lists the entire rosters of all competing nations could be helpful.

I checked the cheat sheet, and I noticed that one of the players from Japan is named Sakuragi. Does this mean we’ll be battling with the red-haired rebounding machine from Slam Dunk?
As awesome as it would be to see that loud-mouthed player with no shortage of attitude, the Sakuragi coming here is a naturalized player whose birth name is JR Henderseon. Shortly after being naturalized in 2007, he took upon the mantle of JR Sakuragi in honor of the anime character. The former UCLA player, while completely free of red hair (or any hair for that matter), is a big man that the Japanese team relies on to bolster the frontline.

Mercy, Sakuragi! Think of the babies!

Don’t we have our own Sakuragi too?
Yes, and he goes by the name Marc Pingris. Unlike the other stars of the team, such as L.A. Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Marcus Douthit, and Gabe Norwood, the San Mig Coffee Mixers forward is playing for the national team for the first time since turning pro in 2004. What can you expect from him? As always, you can count on him for boundless energy, and tremendous defense. It is definitely a good thing that Lebron James hasn’t yet opted to naturalize himself into one of the opposing teams’ rosters.

NEXT: How the tourney works
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