Members of Gilas Pilipinas are somber upon arrival yesterday.
Miguel de Guzman
Painful lessons to serve Gilas well in future?
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Team Philippines returned home without fanfare yesterday, carrying not great memories or milestones but painful lessons from a poor FIBA World Cup stint that team members hope will help steer the Gilas Pilipinas program back in the right direction.

Gilas finished dead last at 32nd overall in the China joust after losing all their five assignments. Coach Yeng Guiao and his charges suffered heavy losses to European biggies Italy and Serbia and an overtime heartbreaker to Angola in the first round in Foshan before yielding to Tunisia and Iran in the classification phase over in Beijing.

“It’s a good experience not only for us but for those who have yet to play for the national team. If ever they’re chosen for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, they can learn from our experience here,” said Paul Lee upon Gilas’ arrival in Manila.

“The lessons we learned from this World Cup should be passed onto the other teams,” said Guiao. “We need longer preparation time. We need to get out of Asia and get experience versus teams from other zones like Europe or Latin America. Preparing for the World Cup doesn’t just take months, the program needs to be set years earlier.”

Guiao is expected to sit down with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executives soon to give his report and recommendations and likely know his status as Gilas picks up the pieces and plots its strategy for the next tournaments. A meeting with the PBA is also expected soon.

The Nationals insisted they did their best despite the limitations in preparation time and manpower.

“We went out there and tried to do our best. It might not look the best out there but we’re trying to get it right and trying to learn and adjust,” said Gilas captain Gabe Norwood.

Still, the Nationals felt an apology to 100 million Filipinos they let down is in order.

“We feel your pain and we apologize for putting you through it,” Norwood said. “We feel it as much as you do but we have pride, we have confidence and we have got excitement for the future.”

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