SBP chair Angara says there is "reason to be very optimistic" for Gilas Men in FIBA worlds

Japeth Aguilar and the rest of the Gilas Men begin their FIBA World Cup stint on Saturday night. Nikki Collantes (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Senator Sonny Angara believes that Gilas Pilipinas Men will do pretty well in the FIBA World Cup in China beginning on Saturday.

"With the present composition of our national team, including its stellar coaching staff, we have reason to be very optimistic about our chances in this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in China," Angara, the concurrent chairman of the SBP, said in a statement on Friday.

The Gilas Men lineup that has already arrived in Foshan as of posting boasts a good bunch of veterans with old reliables Japeth Aguilar, Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, RR Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Robert Bolick, Paul Lee, and Troy Rosario.

The lineup is also infused with young blood courtesy of first-time Gilas Elites CJ Perez and Robert Bolick.

Angara also looks forward to an impressive stint by Gilas Men that could give them a shot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"The Philippines has an excellent chance of getting back to the Olympics by posting a strong performance in the World Cup," he continued.

Although Gilas Men are grouped with tough European squads Italy and Serbia, Angara remains bullish.

"The Philippines is no stranger to adversity and there is no question that no matter how harshly we are tested, the Filipino spirit remains unbroken," his statement concluded.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno