Gilas going all out in Fiba worlds


SILVER MEDALISTS Players and team officials of Gilas Pilipinas with SBP vice chair Ricky Vargas and Fiba Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian during the awards rite. August dela Cruz

It was a dream very few believed would see fruition at the start. After being crowned as the second-best basketball team in Asia, Gilas Pilipinas now wants to dream some more.

“There are two schools of thought for us here,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas vice chair Ricky Vargas told the Inquirer over the phone yesterday. “One is to go there (Fiba World Cup in Spain) as tourists.

“And the other is: Why not put our best foot forward and be as competitive as we can be?”

Gilas Pilipinas achieved its dream of returning to the world championship for the first time in 35 years by finishing second to Iran in the 27th Fiba Asia Championship last Sunday.

“Now that we are No. 2 in Asia, and at least No. 24 in the world because there are 24 teams in Spain (next year), why not strive to be No. 18, or even No. 16?” Vargas said. “We won’t go there thinking that we can win a medal, but we will go there to be competitive.”

Vargas said SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan will meet with the coaching staff in the next few days to map out strategies for the World Cup and the Olympic qualifying in 2015 where the champion will make it to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games.

“There’s no question that this is the best team that we have worked with —attitude-wise, talent-wise and what have you,” Vargas said. “But tinkering with the lineup for Spain is a possibility if we want to be competitive.”

As host, the Philippines played in the world championship for the last time in 1978 with a team that was coached by Nic Jorge. That all-amateur squad finished without a win.

The country’s best finish in the early years of the championship was third in Brazil in 1954, when team star Caloy “The Big Difference” Loyzaga even made it to the Mythical Five.

Vargas said the SBP wants to make the most out of the opportunity of playing in the world championship and make the stint one to remember.

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  • SG0609

    I am for gilas but mr. vargas’ analysis of being number 24 is out of place! We may have made it to the Fiba where there are 24 teams but it does not mean that we are ranked 24th overall…why? coz there are more teams in Europe, latin America, and Africa that did not qualify which, if we compare their standings, are greater than the Philippines or iran or south korea.

  • MArk

    GIlas team is the best and “puso” is their battle cry. Azkals! puro pa pogi lang. Let the half breeds go home… sayang pera mo Mr Pangilinan.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Ang baba naman ng goal 16 or 18. Minsan lang tayo nagquaqualify, dapat reach for the roof na. I think we need 2 more naturalizwd player na 6’11 pataas height para makapagcompete. They also need to have a good to decent mid range game. Wala tayong height at shooting. Cut na dapat si David, Fajardo at si Aguilar. David kasi pabigat sa team,; Fajardo kasi hirap sa loob at walang shooting; Aguilar kasi hirap sa loob, walang dribbling at shooting skills.

    • maximus_meridius

      Be realistic mate. Even if we have 2 naturalized tall players, you really think our team stand a chance against the likes of Spain, Australia, Greece, Argentina, France, Russia, Lithuania, and Brazil? Hindi ko na nga sinama sa list yung team USA. Even FIBA Asia champion Iran don’t stand a chance against these teams.

    • PinoyMundo Biz

      Tatanggalin mo si Aguilar?

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