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Friday, April 19, 2024

Gilas five gives us glimpse of future

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WHO said the new Gilas Pilipinas basketball team isn’t quality-laden?

Think again, fellas.

It is now awash with class.

It may not be world-class, if we mean it is ready to win the Fiba World Cup.  That’d be downright wishful thinking, as in saying Manny Pacquiao can be a presidential winner outright because he is a boxing world champion.

Far from that.  We only talk of realities here.  Hearsay stuff is taboo.

It may not be Olympic-class, if we mean Gilas is ready to win the bronze medal in the Tokyo Games next month.

Just to be in the OQT (Olympic Qualifying Tournament) is more than enough pride and glory to boast of for this cage-crazed republic.

Now, how about this?  Gilas Pilipinas being worthy of Fiba Asia Cup contention?

That’s more like it, fellas.

Suddenly, that’s become achievable, especially if we use as barometer our three-game sweep of our assignment in the Fiba Asia Cup window last week at Clark.

Are we that close to the summit now?

A bit, I guess.

Indonesia was beatable, yes, but South Korea?

We didn’t only beat the more experienced Koreans once but twice.  And, yes, decisively at that. Both times.

When the Korean coach derisively described our first win (81-78) as the result of a lucky three-point shot by deadshot artist SJ Belangel at the buzzer, it only goaded the Gilas boys to play more inspired basketball in producing an 82-77 victory in Game Two.

Even as the rematch was no-bearing as Gilas’ Game One win clinched the squad’s ticket to the Fiba Asia Cup proper in August in Indonesia, our youth-laden crew still gave it their all if only to spite the Korean coach.

But the real impact of Gilas’ three rousing wins was they were carved with big help from our two giants debuting on the international stage.

Seven-foot-3 Kai Sotto, 19, released temporarily by his Adelaide team in Australia, and 6-foot-10 Ange Kouame, 23, the naturalized Filipino from the Ivory Coast, both looked impressive as they showed a lot of promise.  Now we got some bigs.

The future is here?

THAT’S IT   With Alex Eala recently securing the French Open tennis junior doubles crown, she and her Russian partner are halfway through the coveted Grand Slam as they also prevailed in the Australian Open last January.  There’s only the Wimbledon and the US Open left to conquer to complete their appointment with history. Cheers!…The Lexus-sponsored US Open ended yesterday with Spain’s Jon Rahm, 26, winning it with two big birdies in his last two holes to beat South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (71) by one shot at the par-71 Torrey Pines, San Diego, California.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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