Gilas Players Grateful for Escaping Istanbul Incident

The Gilas Pilipinas squad shared their sentiments on social media as the expressed their gratitude and relief for escaping the incident in Istanbul, Turkey. Members of the team arrived home safely in Manila on Tuesday evening, hours before three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul airport.

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Gilas Pilipinas members and the coaching staff arrived on Tuesday evening at the NAIA Terminal 1 around 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday from Istanbul, Turkey. The 14-man Gilas team held a training camp to prepare for the highly anticipated FIBA Olympic Qualifiers which will be hosted by the Philippines next week.

A few hours later the Gilas team embarked on their journey home, attackers blew themselves up in Istanbul’s main international airport, Ataturk, k!ll!ng 36 people and wounding 150 others. According to the Filipino communities in Turkey no Filipino were reported hurt during the incident.

Gilas Team Manager Butch Antonio took to Twitter and posted the following message: “Thank you Lord for our safe passage out of Istanbul,” he tweeted. Antonio added further “I’m saddened by what just happened at the Istanbul airport.”

The head coach of the Gilas Pilipinas national squad coach Tab Baldwin also posted on Twitter that Turkey was his home for nearly three years. He was so saddened and worried for his friends living in Turkey. He also thanked the Lord for the safety of the Gilas and Turkish national teams who arrived just recently in Manila.

Naturalized center Andray Blatche said in an Instagram post: “Me and my teammates were just there. Thank you God for watching over us. I’m really lost for words.” Renowned Born Again Christian and Gilas mainstay Marc Pingris also expressed his sentiment on Twitter “Grabe, dito lang kami kanina pauwi ng Manila, wala pang five hours bago nangyari ito,” he said. “Lord, salamat sa pag gabay mo sa amin ng Team Gilas.”

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