Gilas Pilipinas makes debut with high expectations
You think you’ve heard loud?
Wait until Gilas Pilipinas gets its debut going in the Southeast Asian Games on Wednesday.
The national dribblers make their highly anticipated appearance in the biennial meet and are expected to be greeted by a loud ovation when they take on Singapore at Mall of Asia Arena.Game time is at 8:15 p.m.
Coach Tim Cone makes his debut as Gilas Pilipinas coach too, his first stint as national coach since leading the Centennial Team to the 1998 Asian Games bronze medal.
“There is no bigger cause, no greater task, for a coach or for an athlete than to serve the national team,” Cone told the Inquirer during one of the national team’s practices at Meralco gym.
With five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo at the helm, Gilas Pilipinas is a cinch for the gold, especially with top rival Indonesia losing a key cog after Lester Prosper failed to get his naturalization papers in time for the regional Olympics.
But Cone and the Nationals are not taking anything for granted.
Christian Standhardinger, Troy Rosario, Stanley Pringle, Japeth Aguilar, Matthew Wright and Marcio Lassiter headline a squad made up of PBA stars and national team regulars.
Basketball has already cornered two golds in the Games, courtesy of the men’s and women’s 3×3 teams. It isn’t a stretch to say that the 5×5 gold is a foregone conclusion too.
But Cone is aware of the high expectations surrounding the team and the fact that the gold medal his wards will chase is the one that matters to most Filipinos.
And he is expecting Gilas to live up to that expectation, focusing on whipping up a team that would be a defensive nightmare for the rest of the field. INQ
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