JUST one more win and Gilas Pilipinas gains a slot in the FIBA Asia Cup set from Aug. 16 to 28 in Indonesia.
So don’t expect the Philippines to take its feet off the pedal in the third window of the qualifiers set on Feb. 18 to 22 in Doha, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio.
“We want to make sure that we are competitive in all games. We want to win all games obviously but I think for us to move ahead, because we haven’t lost in our group, we just need to win one more game and we are in the FIBA Asia Cup,” Panlilio said last Tuesday on the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
“It’s one game but we will try to win every game,” he added.
Sporting a 3-0 card in Group A, Gilas tangles with South Korea on Feb. 18, a reset of their initial match that was called off in the second window in Manama last November.
Gilas clashes with Indonesia on Feb. 20 and then South Korea on Feb. 22 anew.
Panlilio said the nationals’ focus is trained on the 2023 FIBA World Cup the country is co-hosting, adding going untouchable in the qualifiers will be a big boost.
“We want to win but at the same time, we are developing this program that is for the long term. But in the next window, if you ask coach Jong (Uichico) and coach Tab (Baldwin), of course we want to win all those three games against Korea and one against Indonesia,” Panlilio said in the public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold PH, Milo, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as webcast partner.
“We are still out there to win and I’m sure this young crop of players plus a few PBA players will fight hard para sa bayan and be proud to carry the flag on their chest.”
Leading the pool are amateur standouts Isaac Go, twins Matt and Mike Nieto, guard Rey Suerte, Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño, guard Dave Ildefonso, big men Justine Baltazar, Calvin Oftana, William Navarro, Kemark Cariño, Dwight Ramos, and Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame of Ivory Coast, a candidate for naturalization.