MANILA, Philippines – In yet another surprising turn of events, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has decided to send a Philippine basketball team to the 2018 Asian Games, just 10 days after a shock withdrawal from the continental tournament.
The SBP, together with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, some of the league’s board of governors and Philippine Olympic Committee chief Ricky Vargas announced on Sunday, August 5, that the decision is final.
The federation had been under fire for their decision to pull out from the Asiad even after the PBA gave its full support to the country’s participation. (READ: PBA blindsided by abrupt Gilas pullout)
“[W]e realized there was a strong clamor from our basketball fans and since we are the house of basketball, we need to really take a look at that clamor,” said Vargas during a press conference held before Game 5 of the Commissioner’s Cup finals.
The core of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will form most of the squad and they will be reinforced by other PBA stars and Gilas Pilipinas cadets.
Elasto Painters’ Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan will be joined Magnolia’s Paul Lee, San Miguel’s Christian Standhardinger, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, TNT’s Don Trollano and NLEX’s Asi Taulava. (LOOK: Gilas Pilipinas lineup for 2018 Asian Games)
Cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero complete the 14-man pool, which will be cut down to 12 for the final lineup.
Former national team tactician Yeng Guiao will mentor the squad while Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia will act as assistant coach.
“We will represent the country to the best of our ability. Of course, our objective is to make our countrymen proud,” Guiao said.
Unfortunately, the team will only have two weeks to prepare as the quadrennial showpiece gets going on August 18 in Indonesia. – Rappler.com
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