Gilas expresses support to Lebanese great El-Khatib

Published August 5, 2020, 6:09 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Alapag, Reyes, Norwood among players who reached out to El-Khatib amid Beirut blast
Fadi El-Khatib
Gilas Pilipinas members express support to Fadi El-Khatib after the Lebanese great posted a message relating to the explosion that killed at least 100 people and left 4,000 others injured. (FIBA Images)

Gilas Pilipinas veterans on Wednesday expressed their support to Lebanese basketball legend Fadi El-Khatib, whose country is reeling from a devastating blast that rocked the capital Beirut the other day.

Former national team coach Chot Reyes and Gilas great Jimmy Alapag sent their messages to El-Khatib, who posted a message relating to the explosion that killed at least 100 people and left 4,000 others injured.

The Department of Foreign Affairs reported that two Filipinos were among those killed.

El-Khatib, 40, was in the middle of a basketball camp in Dubai when he learned the news back home.

“Sending you my prayers brother,” Alapag said in the comments section of El-Khatib’s Instagram post. The two have developed a friendship prior to Alapag’s FIBA Asia debut in the 2007 edition held in Tokushima, Japan.

El-Khatib, 40, is best remembered for asking Manila-based scribes why Alapag was left out of the Philippine roster in the 2009 FIBA Asia tilt in Tianjin, China.

“Hoping (and) praying you (and) your family are ok, Fahdi,” said Reyes, who last faced El-Khatib during the classification phase of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut as Gilas mentor.

Long-time Gilas mainstay Gabe Norwood and Iran star Hamed El-Haddadi also consoled El-Khatib by posting a pray emoji on the same comments section.

El-Khatib is regarded as one of the biggest names in Asian basketball, having led Lebanon to the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan while winning four FIBA Asia Champions Cup for Lebanese clubs Sagesse and Al-Riyadi.

He recently faced Mighty Sports Philippines in the Dubai Invitational Tournament by reinforcing the United Arab Emirates national team, scoring 30 points in an 88-82 loss.