SEA GAMES 2019: SBP aims to sweep all basketball events

MANILA, Philippines – The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is eyeing a sweep of all the 4 basketball golds at stake in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios said it is the directive of top basketball officials for the country to win the gold medals in the men's and women's categories of the 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 competitions, respectively. (READ: Gilas Pilipinas conquers SEA Games once more with 18th gold medal)

"That's the mandate," Barrios disclosed during the very first Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum for 2019 on Tuesday, February 5, at the Tapa King Restaurant in Farmers Plaza Cubao.

The challenge right now is for the women's team to deliver, since Perlas Pilipinas have yet to win a breakthrough gold in the biennial meet, unlike their men's counterpart which had won all the golds except for two since the country first joined the biennial meet in 1977.

Multi-titled coach Patrick Aquino will continue to call the shots for the women's squad. (READ: Perlas Pilipinas ends SEA Games 2017 with 74-point win over Vietnam)

"That's why nai-stress na si coach Pat kasi alam ninyo naman mas mabigat 'yung challenge sa kanya. 'Yung sa men's, sabi nga nila, kapag nanalo ng less than 50, galit pa tayo sa coach," Barrios said. 

"Kasi masyadong mataas na 'yung standard natin sa Southeast Asia. But sa women's hindi pa tayo nag-go-gold. We missed it a few years back," the former PBA commissioner added. "Now that were playing here, coach Pat is really preparing [the team]."

(That's why coach Pat is stressed because it's a big challenge ahead of him. If we win below a 50-point margin, we already get mad at the coach of the men's basketball team. Our standard for Southeast Asia is too high. But we haven't won a gold in women's basketball. We missed it a few years back.) 

In contrast, the men's team is still unaccounted for, although Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas earlier expressed his desire to see an all-PBA player squad. 

Vargas also happens to be the current chairman of the PBA Board.

"Ngayon, pinag-uusapan ng PBA at SBP is to provide the best," Barrios said, stressing that the country can't leave any chances for our opponents especially as SEA Games host.

"'Pag nag-host ka, there is no such thing as overkill. Gusto natin to win, and not just win but win big," he added. 

(Right now, what the PBA and SBP are discussing is to provide the best. If you're the host, there's no such thing as overkill. We want to win, and not just win, but win big.) 

The SBP executive bared during the discussion that a lot of basketball events were also considered to be included in the SEA Games calendar aside from the 5x5 and 3x3.

"We did. We discussed a lot of potential basketball events, but at the end of the day, the SEA Games Federation Council just settled for the 4 events," Barrios said. – Rappler.com