The Redeem Team got their redemption in so many ways.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial admitted he had been nervous watching Gilas Pilipinas during the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, that he prayed a lot for the Philippine men's basketball team would find success. A few players particularly impressed him in the squad's revenge tour.
"Super nagdasal ako dun, lalo nung kalaban ang Indonesia," Marcial told Noli Eala in Radyo5's Power and Play on Saturday.
"Kahit ganun ang flooring, kahit ganun ang condition, nandyan ang players, hindi sumuko. Nakakatuwa, binibigay lahat," he added, recalling the slippery linoleum floors and suffocating heat reported in Cambodia. "Grabe yung pagkakadasal ko, pagkapanalo natin, at naibalik ang medalyang ginto."
Asked about the players that stood out to him the most, Marcial listed Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser of the NLEX Road Warriors, Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, CJay Perez of the San Miguel Beermen, and even Jerom Lastimosa of the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
In the group stage game against Cambodia, Ganuelas-Rosser was only able to put up four points and three rebounds. In the finals, he became more productive and was everywhere on the court with nine points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block for a +/- of 10.
Brownlee had only 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block as he was "suffocating" during the first game against Cambodia. The naturalized Filipino did his best to acclimatize and was back to his clutch self in the finals, recording 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, along with 1 steal, and 1 block to help win the gold medal.
Even the young Jerom Lastimosa ensured he was worth the Gilas call-up with two timely baskets against Cambodia.
"Nung mga unang laro nila, talagang wala," Marcial noted. "Pero nung finals, nakita yung laro nila."
Mission accomplished for the Redeem Team.