President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials took time off from work to support Gilas Pilipinas during its 2019 FIBA World Cup game against Italy on Saturday in China.
Duterte, together with Senator Bong Go and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, among others, graced the sidelines of the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center, where the Philippine team absorbed a 46-point beating from the powerhouse European squad.
The Philippine delegation was also joined by some Chinese government officials.
Duterte earlier in the day paid a quick visit to the Gilas dugout, where he delivered his message of support for the squad ahead of its opening game.
“It’s never too late to dream. We will be praying for your victory,” the President told the national team players before the game tipped off in Foshan, China.
“Basta bigay ninyo lahat. Nandito kami. Basta ako, para sa inyo, nandito ako,” he added.
[Translation: Just give your best. We’re here to support you. I’m here for you.]
Prior to his World Cup visit, Duterte held bilateral talks with Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, to raise issues concerning the two nations.