As expectations rise after Asian Games gold, Gilas standouts vow to put in work | Inquirer Sports

As expectations rise after Asian Games gold, Gilas standouts vow to put in work

/ 05:10 AM October 26, 2023

Scottie Thompson Gilas Pillipinas vs Jordan Asian Games

Gilas Pilipinas guard Scottie Thompson uses a screen set by Japeth Aguilar during a game against Jordan at the Asian Games.–ASIAN GAMES POOL

Expectations are high that the players who were part of Gilas Pilipinas’ historic run to the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games (Asiad) are poised to have a banner season in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

But for Scottie Thompson, the hype should be matched by the work output as he focuses on giving Barangay Ginebra another championship.

“The Asian Games stint was a big experience for us going into the upcoming season,” Thompson said in Filipino. “But I think it’s going to be a matter of how you carry that expectation and pressure.”


Thompson and San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo are among those seen as the one who’ll put their respective teams in a strong position to contend for the Commissioner’s Cup, the first offing of the league’s 48th season.

Fajardo and the Beermen won last season’s Philippine Cup, extending the team’s reign of the league’s most prestigious trophy every time the six-time Most Valuable Player is on the roster.

A few weeks ago, Fajardo celebrated another title, wearing gold when the Philippines ended a 61-year wait to reclaim the Asian Games basketball crown.

Several players have spoken about how Fajardo’s fitness will play a major factor in how the championship chase will play out.

Fajardo, however, wants to start from scratch.


“My thinking is that I haven’t won anything yet. I just want to win,” said Fajardo.

The play of Thompson, Fajardo and their talent-loaded rosters will be key in the chances of the two San Miguel Corporation (SMC) teams’ bid to keep their strong batting average at winning championships.

A streak of SMC titles was thwarted last April when TNT took the Governors’ Cup in April, the last time a serious PBA game was played.

By circumstance

Calvin Oftana was the lone player on that TNT squad who saw action in the Asian Games, and he’s also seen as someone whose game will rise to another level—more by circumstance.

TNT will miss three vital cogs in the coming tournament as Mikey Williams continues to hold out on the squad, RR Pogoy recovers from a heart ailment and Poy Erram rehabilitates a surgically repaired knee.

“It’s hard to fulfill the expectations of people since obviously, I’m the one who is playing on the floor,” Oftana said. “But I want to play with my teammates because it’s hard to play by yourself. And knowing that we don’t have our core players, so I think the best thing to do is to play as a team.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Two teams that could push their agenda in the Commissioner’s Cup are regular semifinalist Meralco and Magnolia, the team that swept the PBA On Tour exhibition series.

Chris Newsome’s play on the defensive end in the Asiad final against Jordan is something he can translate into a leadership role for the Bolts while the Hotshots, who didn’t have any player in China after Calvin Abueva was disallowed to play, are coming off an impressive unbeaten run in the On Tour.

TAGS: Asian Games, Gilas Pilipinas, Scottie Thompson

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.