Showcasing Philippine Basketball in the world stage!

The task for Gilas Pilipinas in the world's biggest stage will be a much taller order, especially against seasoned NBA and EuroBasket veterans. Moreover, the lack of preparations may again be the biggest boon to the national side.

Basketball fever has hit the country once again as our very own Philippine Men's Basketball Team ("Gilas Pilipinas") began its campaign in the 2019 FIBA World Cup of Basketball against Italy on 31 August 2019.

Gilas Pilipinas will round up its schedule of games against world powerhouse Serbia on 2 September and Angola on 4 September.

It has been a difficult return for Gilas Pilipinas to the world stage.

Assembling a formidable team for several windows of the Asian qualifiers proved to be a challenge as most of the national team members belong to several PBA ballclubs. Due to wear and tear, key members of the team missed some games and windows due to injuries and due to the tight PBA schedule.

The coaching staff also had issues with naturalized player Andray Blatche's conditioning during the earlier windows of the qualifiers. At some point, local basketball fans became very dissatisfied with Blatche's performance and called for his replacement, especially at the conclusion of the 2nd window of qualifiers.

However, it was the brawl at the Philippine Arena between Gilas and the Australian National Team which almost cost the country a slot in the 2019 World Cup and its hosting of the 2023 World Cup. Gilas Pilipinas lost more than half of its pool due to suspensions, and a change of coach happened midstream as a result of the incident.

In fact, Gilas Pilipinas lost consecutive home games and barely made it during the last day of the qualifiers as it defeated Kazakhstan. Coupled with the win by Korea over Lebanon, Gilas Pilipinas bagged the wildcard spot.

The task for Gilas Pilipinas in the world's biggest stage will be a much taller order, especially against seasoned NBA and EuroBasket veterans. Moreover, the lack of preparations may again be the biggest boon to the national side.

The Gilas Pilipinas roster was only finalized on 25 August, six days prior to its first game against Italy. Furthermore, the injury bug once again hit the national team as Matthew Wright, Poy Erram and Marcio Lassiter were held out from the final roster due to injuries.

Interestingly, this will also be Coach Yeng Guiao's first foray at the world stage after several stints at the Asian level. Known for bringing out the best in his players, it remains to be seen whether his magic will work against the world’s best teams.

While this is no time to focus on the problems besetting the preparation of our national team, we must focus on a long-term program that will enable Gilas Pilipinas to compete at a world-level with maximum exposure and least interruption. The country is hosting the 2023 FIBA World Cup and we must be ready to be competitive, not just host, in front of our own fans.

For now, let us hope for the best and expect the worst as far as Gilas’ run in the 2019 World Cup is concerned.

Laban Pilipinas! Puso!

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TheLOBBYiST.
About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
Other Articles