MANILA, Philippines – As the old adage goes, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
And Jakarta’s Filipino community knew that some hearts were in need of healing, so they hosted an all-Filipino food lunch for the Gilas Pilipinas team that suffered a crushing 80-82 loss at the hands of rival China.
Lechon, dinuguan, pancit bihon, you name it, they served it.
And of course, coaches and players were all too happy to finally taste home cooking again after a week of staying in Indonesia.
“Na-miss ko [yung food] kasi ayun nga, more than one week na dito sa Athletes' Village, pare-pareho na 'yung itsura tsaka amoy ng pagkain,” said Chris Tiu. “Suyang-suya na kami.”
(I missed the food because for more than a week now, the food in the Athletes’ Village has started to look and smell the same. We’re all so sick of it.)
“Pero noong nakita na may mga Pinoys na may pakain ng Filipino food, it made us feel at home,” Tiu continued. “Hindi na kami masyado naho-home sick na. And 'yun nga, noong nakita nga 'yung lechon, tinira na namin kaagad. Hindi pa pinapakain pero sumubo na kami ng pasimple lang.”
(But when we learned that Pinoys were hosting lunch with Filipino food, it made us feel at home. We weren’t as homesick as before. And when we saw the lechon, we wasted no time having some. No one was eating yet but we snuck in a few bites.)
“Kalahati naubos ni Asi [Taulava],” James Yap chimed in. (Asi finished half of it.)
Tiu replied with some name-dropping. “Si Beau [Belga] din, kalahating baboy inubos ni Beau. Sa kanya pa lang ubos na isang lechon.”
(Beau, too, finished half. He can finish one whole lechon alone.)
Coach Yeng Guiao was also very appreciative of the gesture.
“Mahigit isang linggo na kami dito, so napaka-gandang gesture ng Filipino community natin dito sa Jakarta na mag-tender sila ng lunch para sa basketball team,” he said. “Ang daming pagkain, ang sarap pa, at saka 'yun ang hinahanap na pagkain ng mga players natin tsaka ng coaching staff, actually.”
(We’ve been here more than a week, so it’s a really nice gesture by the Filipino community here in Jakarta to tender a lunch for the basketball team. There’s a lot of tasty food, and that’s what the players and coaching staff are actually looking for.)
“Yung makasama namin ang mga Pinoy tapos makakain kami ng pagkaing Pilipino, nakakabawas ng kaunti sa homesickness na 'yun kaya ang laking pasasalamat namin sa kanila,” he continued. “Sila rin ang tumulong sa amin para magkaroon kami ng court para humaba ang ensayo namin. Kaya parte sila ng success natin dito sa Asian Games.”
(The fact that we were able to eat Filipino food with fellow Pinoys, it really helped ease the homesickness and that’s why we thank them so much. They also helped out in providing a practice court to prolong our practice time, so they are really a part of our success here in the Asian Games.)
While the Rain or Shine-led Gilas team is set to face another basketball giant in South Korea on Monday, August 27, Guiao and the rest of the squad can rest easy knowing that they have the full support of their countrymen.
And with the way the Jakarta-based Filipino community backs them up, they might as well claim home court advantage for the rest of the Asian Games. – Rappler.com