Monday, October 5, 2015
Gilas Pilipinas might not participate in Olympic wildcard qualifiers, says MVP
With their runner-up finish in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, the Philippine national men’s basketball team will have one of the three spots allotted for the Asian region in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.
But Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manuel V. Pangilinan believes that there is not much to gain from participating in the tournament and that the Gilas Pilipinas program should instead look ahead to the future.
“My view is that, I’m not saying we will get chosen for the wild card, but frankly my view is that we should opt out of it,” Pangilinan told InterAksyon.com in an interview.
“And plan further ahead towards 2017 when the pre-qualification games are started to get played for the 2019 World Cup. We should prepare better for that.”
He believes that China benefited greatly from long-term preparation, culminating in their return to Asian supremacy this year.
“Remember in 2013, the Chinese team was very different from the Chinese team today. They didn’t even make it to the quarters, if I recall correctly. The Chinese team we saw today was vastly improved from where it was only about two years ago. We should think the same way as they do. Prepare forward,” he said.
China fell to Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinal round of the previous FIBA Asia Championship in Manila but dominated this year’s competition – including defending champion Iran – with a young, athletic team this year.
“That’s now the gold standard for Asian basketball. It’s no longer Iran. It’s now the Chinese, this Chinese team.”
But Pangilinan stressed that, despite the rise of the China as the Asian superpower, people should continue believing in the bright future for Philippine basketball.
“I don’t think we should lose hope. It’s a sport that Filipinos love so it’s a sport we’ll continue to support. We shouldn’t take this as a complete setback to the program. We should look at the positive aspects of the program and the things that need to be improved.”