SBP calls for unity among stakeholders after latest Gilas’ disappointment
MANILA, Philippines — The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) expressed its disappointment in the men’s team’s ninth place finish in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup and called on the stakeholders to unite in forming a competitive team for the World Cup next year.
Days after the Gilas Pilipinas’ Fiba Asia Cup stint ended with a 102-81 loss to Japan, SBP president Al Panlilio said it was a “disappointment” to miss the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 2007 in Tokushima.
The federation chief stressed that the “lack of training time and player availability are issues that must be addressed” with Gilas Pilipinas facing a busy schedule until the next year’s Fiba World Cup.
Gilas resumes its Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers in August, November, and February 2023 as well as the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia from May 5 to 16 and the World Cup from August 25 to September 10.
“As FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis mentioned, it’s been nearly 25 years since Greece hosted a world basketball event,” Panlilio said. “We really have to give it full support from all basketball stakeholders.”
The SBP has set a general meeting of all basketball stakeholders on August 1 to lay out the timetable leading to the country’s hosting of the World Cup.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas also said SBP hopes to form the best team possible for the biggest basketball stage.
“The World Cup will never happen again in Manila in our lifetime. It took 45 years to bring the World Cup back to Manila. We should be all out,” Vargas said. “We need the best to play and be allowed to play. We call on all stakeholders to unite for flag and country.”
SBP also came to coach Chot Reyes’ defense despite Gilas Pilipinas’ worst outcome in the continental meet in 13 years, saying the team was beset with injuries and limited training time.
“Any coach would’ve backed off from the challenge but Reyes chose to play the cards he was dealt with in keeping his commitment to the country and SBP,” read the statement.
Jordan Clarkson, who has committed to play for the World Cup next year, is likely to reinforce Gilas in the fourth window of the Asian qualifiers against Lebanon on August 25 in Beirut and against Saudi Arabia on August 29 at Mall of Asia Arena with more PBA players available by that time.
SBP is also convincing Kai Sotto to play in the next three windows as the federation faces a tall order in forming a team for the November window due to the ongoing PBA, UAAP, NCAA, and global leagues.