POC: Make sure cage gold medal is in the bagBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Scout the opposition to make sure the basketball gold medal in the coming Southeast Asian Games is in the bag for the country.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. emphasized this condition before giving the green light for the team of amateurs and collegiate stars that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas wants to send instead of the all-pro Gilas five to defend the cage crown.
“Let’s take this seriously. They (other countries) might get players from China or naturalize tall Americans to beat us,” said Cojuangco, who urged the SBP to check out the team rosters of other countries.
“Before, we can go easy (in the SEA Games) and still win the gold. It’s different now,” added Cojuangco.
Except in the 1989 Kuala Lumpur SEAG, the Philippines had brought home the men’s basketball gold medal in every edition since the sport was played in 1977.
The SBP and officials of Gilas Pilipinas, the country’s men’s team, have until late October to defend before the POC-PSC top brass the team they’re planning to send in the Dec. 11 to 22 Burma (Myanmar) meet.
Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia had earlier batted for an all-PBA Gilas quintet but the pro league thought it wasn’t feasible due to scheduling woes.
“We’re thinking of a sure gold. But what if we lost because we failed to find out the kind of opponents we’re going to face?” Garcia added. “Yes, it will be painful.”