Strong Gilas pool gathers in tryouts
While Gilas Pilipinas assembled for the first time Monday night for the country’s one final bid to crash the main draw of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has also done its part to bid for hosting one of three qualifying events set in July.
“We’re done with all the paperwork,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said as the cage body officially files its bid with the Fiba Central Board before the 5 p.m. deadline on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland. “We’re ready with everything—soft copy, etc.—and will just be printing it out,” Barrios added.
The Philippines will make a push to be one of the sites for the July 4 to 11 event to gain the all-important home court advantage as the Filipinos battle countries coming from continents outside of Asia for a berth in the Games.
Gilas, despite a gallant stand in Changsha City, China, last month, lost to the host Chinese in the finals of the Asian Qualifying.
The July Qualifier will be the Filipinos’ final chance at returning to the Olympics for the first time in more than 40 years.
A Fiba event was last held in the country in 2013, when the Philippines finished second to Iran in the World Cup elimination round.
That tournament, though, staked three continental berths to the Worlds slated in Spain the following year.
Along with the Iranians and the Filipinos, the South Koreans also played in Spain.
Iran, which finished third in Changsha after being upset by the Filipinos in the second phase of group play and bowing to the Chinese in the Final Four, is also bidding to host a leg in July, along with several other European countries.
The Philippines will try to win this one just months after losing to China for the rights to host the 2019 World Championship.
A decision will be announced by Fiba after the meeting of its Central Board, where SBP chair and Gilas Pilipinas backer Manny V. Pangilinan is a member, onNov. 23 and 24.