Philippines-Gilas to compete in Asiad basketball

Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star
Philippines-Gilas to compete in Asiad basketball
Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas (seated, third from left) announces the country’s participation in the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, in consultation with the PBA, the basketball stakeholders and government agencies, reconsidered its earlier decision to withdraw from the quadrennial games set Aug. 18-Sept. 2. With him are (from left, seated) SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, SBP president Al Panlilio, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua and national team head coach Yeng Guiao and members of the PBA Board (standing). The core of Rain Or Shine team will anchor the national squad reinforced by the likes of Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel Beer and Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort.
Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will compete in the Asian Games men’s basketball tournament after all as the national cage federation has reconsidered its decision to withdraw, heeding the strong clamor of Filipino basketball fans.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio were joined by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and some PBA governors in a hastily-called press conference to announce Team Phl’s return to the 18th Asiad set Aug. 18-Sept. 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Before the end of the press conference, POC secretary general Patrick Gregorio came in, announcing the Olympic Council of Asia and the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee had accepted Team Phl’s reentry.

Yeng Guiao remained as Team Phl head coach to be assisted by Caloy Garcia, handling a 14-man pool composed of Rain or Shine’s Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, Magnolia’s Paul Lee, Blackwater’s Poy Erram, TNT’s Don Trollano, San Miguel’s Christian Standhardinger, NLEX’s Asi Taulava and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.

They start a short nine-day training at 8 tonight at the Meralco Gym. Guiao said they would determine the Final 12 before Aug. 14 when they leave for Jakarta, two days ahead of their first match versus Iran on Aug. 16.

Vargas said SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, PBA team owners Ramon Ang, Raymond Yu, Terry Que, Mikee Romero and Dioceldo Sy, NLEX chief Rod Franco and government officials Bong Go, Allan Peter Cayetano and Sonny Angara played key roles for the SBP and the PBA to come together and make the Asiad return possible.

But the bigger reason was the clamor  of the  Filipino  basketball community for re-entry following SBP’s decision on July 26 to pull out of the quadrennial games, hours after the announcement of the appointment of Guiao and the core of the ROS team as   representative of the country to the Jakarta meet.

“We realized there’s a strong clamor from the basketball fans. And since we’re the house of basketball, we really need to take a look at the clamor and where it is coming from. Nakita namin galing ito sa puso ng ating basketball fans,” said Vargas.

“With this, the team owners, upon the initiative of (SMC sports director) Alfrancis Chua, started to begin putting together the players that we have now,” Vargas added.

Vargas, Panlilio and Marcial also mentioned Go, the Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and an avid basketball fan, among those who batted for the re-entry of the Gilas team.

“Bong Go appealed to the PBA and the SBP to see if we can reconsider,” said Vargas.

The cage officials believed they were able to put up a competitive team although time is not on their side.

“Time is really short even before when we planned this. With what happened in the last two weeks, lalong umigsi. That’s one reason why we got the core of the Rain or Shine team because they’re familiar with me, and I’m familiar with them,” said Guiao.

All the hopefuls were in the initial roster submitted to the Asiad organizing committee except Taulava, Lee and Pringle.

POC officials, however, are confident the three would be cleared as the organizers are very helpful and cooperative to the SBP.

Vargas said they would be happy if Guiao and his team would be able to surpass Team Phl’s seventh place finish in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

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