Expect Gilas Pilipinas to be showered with similar warmth, adulation, and support when it battles Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Gilas forward Dwight Ramos said they are expecting an arena full of supporters as the games will be held in the Middle East, which is considered the home of millions of Filipino migrant workers.
Gilas is facing Jordan at the Prince Hamza Hall in Amman at press time before clashing with Saudi Arabia at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Monday.
Ramos said they are no stranger to enjoying the support of their “Sixth Man” in the Middle East.
“I also remember, we played in Jordan for a pocket tournament and we had the biggest crowd among the teams playing there except for the home team, of course, ” Ramos told Daily Tribune in a conversation.
“We have the overseas Filipinos supporting us.”
“I haven’t been to Saudi yet, but I know that’s a common place for OFWs. Hopefully, they can come out and watch and create a home atmosphere for us.”
Parks could only agree with Ramos.
“That would be a treat for us and a treat for them,” Parks said.
“Hopefully, we can put on a show and just really, get the W. But we would like to thank the fans, families, and loved ones as we embark on this mission. We ask for your unconditional love. Para sa bayan ito!”
The Philippines has been regarded as the best fans in the world by the International Basketball Federation and such atmosphere was visible as early as the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championship when Gilas Pilipinas clinched the silver medal to qualify for the FIBA World Cup for the first time in 40 years.
FIBA gave the Philippines the Most Valuable Fans award eight years ago when Gilas were playing in Seville, Spain, earning support from fans, not just Filipinos, but crowds from all over Europe.