Different teams for FIBA World, SEA Games
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It’s quite unlikely that the Gilas Pilipinas lineup to the FIBA World Cup in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 will be the same one that will try to keep the crown in the 30th SEA Games in November.

“We will create another team for the SEA Games,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas yesterday.

Vargas said the FIBA World Cup is definitely a tougher task for Gilas Pilipinas, considering that it will face powerhouse Serbia, Italy and Angola in the opening round.

Only two teams will advance to the next round, and the lower two will be relegated to the classification stage.

Vargas admitted Gilas Pilipinas players, who are ranked No. 31 in the world, will have their hands full against No. 4 Serbia, No. 13 Italy and No. 39 Angola.

“Yung galing sa Worlds pag-pasok sa SEA Games baka pagod na (The players coming from the Worlds will be tired entering the SEA Games),” said Vargas, citing the time frame.

The Philippines will host the SEA Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. Basketball competitions will be staged at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“That’s why we have to form another team for the SEA Games, but maybe with Yeng Guiao also as coach,” said Vargas, who is on the same page with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chief Al Panlilio in sending the best team possible to the SEA Games.

Call it an “overkill,” but Vargas said basketball is one sport where the Philippines cannot take any chances.

“We can’t lose a game in basketball. Even if you win the championship but you lose a game, it’s a sting,” said Vargas, who however, added that the Philippines may not find the need to field naturalized player Andray Blatche or Fil-American Jordan Clarkson in the SEA Games.

In SEA Games history, the Philippines has failed to win the basketball title only twice.

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