Jojo Lastimosa expressed disappointment over the commitment of some members of the Gilas Pilipinas squad who will see action in the FIBA Basketball World Cup that the country will host from 25 August to 10 September.
In the pilot episode of Down to The Wire podcast of Daily Tribune, the former national team campaigner recalled their experiences, saying that they are willing to fight for the country regardless of the monetary benefits.
“During our time with the Centennial Team, I don’t think we got anything there in terms of financial help,” said the outspoken Lastimosa, who skippered the team that won the bronze medal in the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998.
“We had our allowance, probably around $50 or $100 a day. But at that time, it was truly a patriotic act to be there.”
Lastimosa, now the head coach of TNT Tropang Giga in the Philippine Basketball Association, added that it is sad to see young players demanding financial reward even before they could step on the playing court.
“For me, it’s really sad when you hear players, even homegrown players, in the national team ask for a big chunk of money. But for us back in the day, if you want to play for the national team, you want to be there because you love and want to serve your country.”
Playing for the national team, Lastimosa added, had now become commercialized as most of the players no longer settle for meager training and competition allowances.
“Now, it has become about money even you talk about the national team,” Lastimosa said.
“It’s quite sad when you hear that. It has become more commercialized. It has become a pay-for-play for the national team.”
“It might not be the same to the other guys that they were not requesting for additional compensation, but I know some players that before they play, they need to receive a big money before they play for the national team and that’s very, very sad.”
Lastimosa said life was simple back then.
“It’s true, we were eating at the Burger Machine stand in front of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum during our time when we were playing for the national team in the early days,” Lastimosa said.