Gilas takes first step toward 'big goal' with strong start

Gilas takes first step toward ‘big goal’ with strong start in Fiba qualifiers

/ 11:06 PM February 25, 2024

Gilas Pilipinas

Gilas Pilipinas waves to the crowd after the Filipinos’ win over Chinese Taipei in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Kai Sotto has all the right in the world to be happy with the way Gilas Pilipinas performed in the first window of the Fiba Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers.

Yet, instead of being overjoyed after their 106-53 domination of Chinese Taipei at Philsports Arena on Sunday, Sotto looked at the bigger picture and said the win was just the right first step toward the bigger goal.

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“Looking at the bigger picture, this is our first step in our big goal and I’m happy that we won in the last game and this game,” said Sotto after registering a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

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HIGHLIGHTS: Gilas vs Chinese Taipei at Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers

“I’m feeling pretty good with what we’re showing. Hopefully, it continues.”

Even before the start of the qualifiers, coach Tim Cone had emphasized what the bigger picture is for Gilas Pilipinas.

As soon as he assumed the position as the national team’s newest permanent coach, Cone said the goal was to see the Philippines compete in the Olympics.

READ: Paris 2024 or LA 2028, Tim Cone wants Olympic stint for Gilas

Winning the Asia Cup and being the most dominant team in Asia in general, of course, are proper steps to get them there.

“That’s really our goal, to make the Olympics,” said Cone during a press conference on Monday. “Whether it be in Paris or L.A., in four or five years, our goal is to make the Olympics.”

Sotto surely made it a point to help Gilas get a step close on Sunday and he wouldn’t have done it without the electric energy of the fans in Pasig.

“The fans here in the Philippines hold so much impact as the home court. As a player, you can’t even describe it properly.”

“The feeling’s just different when you’re playing in front of a home crowd. I’m very thankful for everyone who supported us tonight.”

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TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Kai Sotto

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