The Gilas Pilipinas 2, counted upon to finally bring the country back in the elite level of basketball, is expected to see action in two major international tuneup tournaments before pruning down its 17-man pool for the Fiba Asia Championship in August.
Officials said the team will take part in Lithuania in June before plunging to defend its title in Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei in July.
Already, the squad is enjoying a snowballing of support from different sectors as the country is hoping to finish at least third in the Asian championships to gain a ticket to the 2014 World Championships in Spain.
San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada led those who are calling for the all-out support for the team which will try to accomplish its goal right before the hometown crowd following the decision to stage Fiba Asia at Mall of Asia Arena.
The young solon even offered San Juan Arena as a minor venue for the championships.
“The country’s hosting of the Fiba-Asia championship will surely put us back on the international basketball map,” added Estrada, who is vice chair of the House committee on youth and sports.
Estrada also made an appeal for local sports leaders to pave the way for the Fiba Asia hosting by clearing the calendar so sports fans can troop to the games and cheer for the Gilas Pilipinas 2.
“If our players see that their countrymen are behind them 100 percent, I’m confident that they will be able to achieve their goal,” he added.
This is the first time the country will host the Asian championships since 1973 which the Philippines ruled via a 10-game sweep at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.