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SBP chief Al Panlilio says sorry for Gilas' SEAG mishaps

The SBP apologized for what happened in Hanoi. PSC-POC Pool (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio finally broke his silence after Gilas Pilipinas lost all but one of their title defenses during the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.

In a statement on Wednesday, Panlilio issued an apology to the Gilas fans for what has become an iffy campaign for the national team capped by the men's team's shock loss to Indonesia in the virtual men's 5x5 basketball gold medal match on Sunday that dropped the squad to the silver for the first time since 1989.

"We at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas share the disappointment of our Filipino basketball fans and take full responsibility with the results of our 31st Southeast Asian Games campaign. We apologize we fell short and were not able to give our teams better support that they needed to retain the Gold," Panlilio said.

Only the women's team remains the defending champion in 5x5 play entering next year's SEA Games in Phnon Penh, but even they did not quite have a happily-ever-after ending after falling short against Malaysia in their final game also on Sunday.

Gilas also failed to defend their championships in 3x3 with the men's team, consisting of the Limitless squad that won the first two conferences of the PBA 3x3, settling for the bronze and women's team completely missing out on the podium.

While Gilas men's 5x5 coach Chot Reyes rued after the team's loss to Indonesia the absence of some key players, Panlilio said that the SBP is taking responsibility for the blown campaign without any excuse.

"There are no excuses and we’ve learned valuable lessons," he further said.

He then vowed "We will bounce back and reclaim our spot to stay ahead."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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