BASKETBALL chief Al Panlilio described as a job well done Gilas Pilipinas’s successful campaign in the recent Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games where the country regained the crown by beating the American-reinforced host team.
Panlilio, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), also thanked the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) for lending their players to the national team.
As a result of the gold medal conquest, Panlilio called for every Filipino fan to unite for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup which the country is hosting from August 25 to September 10.
“A job well done,” said Panlilio, also the CEO and president of PLDT and Smart, as he congratulated the players and coaches led by Chot Reyes.
Gilas defeated Cambodia, which had five naturalized American players, in the gold medal play, 80-69, on Tuesday.
“I’m very happy we redeemed ourselves, thank you to the players, coaches Chot, Tim [Cone] and Jong [Uichico] for their sacrifice, hard work and resilience,” he said. “My personal gratitude to Governor Alfrancis Chua [Ginebra] for all he has done. The gold is back to where it belongs.”
“Now that SEA Games is over and we’re very happy that we redeemed ourselves, we switch our focus on the World Cup,” he said. “And that’s the bigger task at hand with 99 days to go.”
He thanked the PBA and UAAP for supporting the SEA Games campaign.
“On behalf of the SBP, I would like to thank UAAP, the PBA, its team owners and the Board of Governors again for allowing their players to be part of the Gilas team,” he said.
The PBA players were Justin Brownlee, CJ Perez, Christian Standhardinger, Chris Ross, Calvin Oftana, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Marcio Lassiter, Arvin Tolentino and Chris Newsome.
The UAAP collegiate players were Adamson University’s Jerome Lastimosa, Ateneo’s Mason Amos and De La Salles’s Michael Philips.
Reyes, meanwhile, said that the road to redemption was never easy and that he’s done his part to serve the country regardless of how Filipino fans translate the victory.
“It’s nothing to them [fans]. If I lose again, they will hate me again for sure,” Reyes said. “I’m already used to it and that’s part of the job.”
“It’s huge, very huge,” said Reyes on the SEA Games campaign. “This is a thankless job. I’m not a politician or a business tycoon, but this is ‘puso,’ all about how you serve your country—and my way of serving my country is to coach the national team.”
He reiterated his decision not to coach a team to the SEA Games again.