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SBP calls for 'unity' ahead of FIBA WC after Gilas' dismal FIBA Asia Cup stint

For the SBP, unity is the key to end Gilas Pilipinas' current slump. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has called on everyone involved in the current growth of Philippine basketball to join forces to help make Gilas Pilipinas as competitive as possible for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“We really have to give it full support from all basketball stakeholders,” SBP president Al Panlilio said on Friday, three days after Gilas was sent to its worst finish in the FIBA Asia Cup as the current incarnation of the Philippine team—and the worst for the Philippines overall since 2009.

“The World Cup will never happen again in Manila in our lifetime… it took 45 years to bring the World Cup back to Manila… dapat laban na, all out… we need the best to play and be allowed to play… we call on all stakeholders to unite for flag and country,” added former SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas, currently the chairman of the PBA board of governors.

The first order of business, according to Panlilio, is the time and roster management for Gilas' lead-up to the FIBA World Cup.

Gilas will be playing in three qualifying windows in August, November, and February and will also see action in next year's Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh in May, where the team looks to reclaim the championship it lost to Indonesia in Hanoi last summer.

It can be noted too that Dwight Ramos and Ange Kouame were absent during the FIBA Asia Cup due to injuries even as Poy Erram only came to the Gilas practices late into the buildup.

A crucial SBP stakeholders meeting has been set on Aug. 1 to discuss the association's plans with one full fiscal year left before the World Cup from Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2023 in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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