‘We have to be at our best’: Little room for error as Gilas shoots for Olympics

Delfin Dioquino

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‘We have to be at our best’: Little room for error as Gilas shoots for Olympics

ADORED. Gilas Pilipinas in action in the 2024 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.


‘It's not just about competing, it's all about winning,’ says team manager Richard del Rosario as Gilas Pilipinas vies to be at the top of its game in its bid for a Paris Olympics spot

MANILA, Philippines – There is little room for error as Gilas Pilipinas tries to do something special in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Riga, Latvia.

Team manager Richard del Rosario said the Nationals have to be at the top of their game against Latvia and Georgia after getting a feel of what to expect in the OQT following a pair of friendly matches versus Turkiye (Turkey) and Poland.

Although Gilas dropped both tuneup games, with Turkey earning an 84-73 win and Poland escaping with an 82-80 victory, the Filipinos showed they have a fighting chance against top European teams.

“We were good against Turkey, we were better against Poland, but we have to be at our best from here on out,” said Del Rosario.

Minimizing its mistakes is a priority for the Philippines after it coughed up a combined 40 turnovers against Turkey and Poland.

That is more than the 39 assists the Filipinos totaled in the same two matches.

Defending the three-point line is also a point of concern as Turkey and Poland sank 14 and 11 triples, respectively, with their proficiency from beyond the arc spelling the difference in their triumphs.

In terms of strength, Gilas has been dominant on the boards as it recorded twice as many rebounds against Poland, 42-21.

The Philippines won the rebounding battle against Turkey as well, 39-29.

“We need to limit our turnovers and get locked in defensively. It’s not just about competing, it’s all about winning,” said Del Rosario.

Through the OQT, the Nationals hope to end the Philippines’ decades-long absence in Olympic basketball since the country last sent a team to the Summer Games in 1972.

Standing in the Filipinos’ way are two formidable squads in world No. 6 Latvia and No. 23 Georgia, which both made the last 16 in the previous FIBA World Cup.

“We will put them under the microscope and look for ways to win,” said Del Rosario.

Gilas will play two games in less than 24 hours as it tangles with Latvia at 12 am and Georgia at 8:30 pm on Thursday, July 4 (Manila time). –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.