Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan brought home from China yesterday the FIBA flag, with the country being the host of the next FIBA World Cup in 2023. With Pangilinan in photo are, from left, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, SBP president Al Panlilio and executive director Sonny Barrios.
KJ Rosales
Gilas going Euro way
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - September 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With Europe’s domination of the 2019 FIBA World Cup highlighted by the championship of Spain, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is now considering to adopt Euro basketball starting with the possible recruitment of a European coach to handle a new long-term national team program.

The SBP leadership is looking at this roadmap, hoping for redemption from a poor showing in the China joust for which SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan offered his sincerest apology to the Filipino basketball fans.

“We express our apology to the Filipinos because SBP is one with the national team. It’s our duty to apologize,” said Pangilinan upon his return from China, bringing home the FIBA flag signifying the country’s hosting of the next edition of the World Cup in 2023.

“It’s done. We should assess very carefully what happened, learn from that and look forward to 2023,” Pangilinan also said.

But the SBP may have found a clue on the blueprint to follow – Go Euro way.

“We have to move quickly. I don’t know if there’s a timetable but it might be a local coach or might be a foreign coach,” said SBP president Al Panlilio. “I think we should consider (hiring a European coach). If we want to go European, we need somebody who knows the European system very well.”

Brimming with hope and confidence that Team Phl was already close with the topnotch international teams being a consistent force in the Asian stage, Gilas Pilipinas got decked with shattering losses in China.

The Nationals got blanked in five outings marked by a -147 point differential to finish at the cellar of the 32-team tournament.

But as forgettable as the campaign was, Gilas and the SBP have learned some valuable lessons in the World Cup, one is how fundamentally sound and effective European style of play is.

Europe’s brilliance was in full display especially as 12 out of 16 teams that qualified to the second round came from Europe bannered by eventual champion Spain, bronze medalist France together with Serbia, Czech Republic and Poland which all finished in the Magic 8.

Only USA, Argentina and Australia were the non-European teams in the Top 8 which led to ex-Gilas mentor Yeng Guiao hailing the continent as the new “mecca” of world basketball.

“That’s part of the assessment. If the suggestion given by coach Yeng is that we adapt with the European style of basketball, then we do need a European coach or at least somebody who knows European basketball,” said Panlilio.

“We can learn more from Europe. Our basketball is really oriented with the NBA, that’s why we often overlooked the beauty and greatness of European basketball,” said Pangilinan.

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