The Graham Lim we know is not perfect
By: Ed Andaya KIBITZER
IN a country where the favorite sport is basketball, they blame Graham Lim for every loss, every defeat in the international front.
When the Cebuana Lhuillier-supported Philippine team handled by coach Boysie Zamar lost to the star-studded Paranaque Jets of Eat Bulaga mainstay Anjo Yllana, they wanted to hang him in effigy. Others wanted to hang him in person.
When a little-known collegiate team filling in in the absence of the country’s top collegiate squads lost badly in the Stankovic Cup, they wanted to send him on a one-way trip to the moon or some other distant planets.
But should Lim really get all the blame?
Perhaps because of the coming FIBA Commission meeting in Geneva where the Philippine case will be tackled before the leaders of both the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), I received this e-mail yesterday:
Dear Mr. Editor,
I am a confused basketball fan. Some of my friends say that Graham Lim should be blamed for the all mess in the country’s basketball program. They say he was responsible for all the losses that the country suffered in international competitions. Please tell the truth. Is he solely to blame?
Confused basketball fan
Well, here’s how I answered our confused basketball fan:
I think your friends are all wrong. They have been affected by all the misinformation which have been circulating for some time now. They read all these unfair criticisms in the newspapers, saw them on television and heard them on the radios.
They only read, watch and hear Graham Lim’s faults, but not the faults of the others.
They believed what the so-called experts on the sport tell them hook, line and sinker.
They only read how a financially-strapped Philippine team got mangled by better-trained, well-funded opposition.
They only watch how a second-class collegiate team proud enough to represent the country and take the place of the suddenly unavailabile top collegiate teams got beaten by superior opposition.
They only hear how the young but talented team assembled by sports patron Jean Henri Lhuillier and coached by Zamar lost to a rag-tag team of ex-pros and movie stars in a tune-up game before the SEA Games.
But, just because our teams lost does not mean the blame should always stop on Graham’s door.
Yes, Mr. Confused Basketball Fan. The blame should not go to Graham Lim alone.
The entire basketball hierarchy should also get the blame.
Basketball leaders should get the blame, too. The players should also be blamed. Even us, basketball fans, deserve some blame.
We are all to blame.
To put all the blame on one person is, to put it mildly, a cowardice act to do.
Of course, we all know that Lim or any other well-meaning sports leaders for that matter, cannot accomplish anything without the support and cooperation of the entire basketball community.
Without the unconditional support of these so-called leaders, Lim won’t be able assemble a competitive team which can really hold a candle in the face of strong opposition.
The question now begging for an honest answer is, “Did he get support?”
Can we blame him for sending a rag-tag team in international competition because he wanted to save the country from the embarrassment of being suspended by FIBA (International Basketball Confederation) for not honoring an international commitment?
Can we really blame him for losing? Why, he’s not even the one mapping out the strategy on the basketball court. Well, he’s not even the one dribbling, passing, rebounding or shooting the basketball.
Can we really blame him for the mess that we are all in?
The Graham Lim we know is not perfect. But so are the men who are now hurling the stones of hate to the poor fellow.
Give him a break. They’ve already called him names. Maligned him even. They’ve even thrown everything at him, including -- pardon the pun -- the kitchen sink.
But I tell you that Graham, without any doubt, also wanted to bring honors to the country as much as we all want to.
Whatever happened to the time-honored tradition that winning isn’t everything, that it’s all part of the game.
Win some,lose some.
PS -- If they can really prove that Graham Lim is solely to blame, let me know so I can personally join in the crusade to hang him in person.
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