We’ll continue fighting–ASP


BASKETBALL chief Al S. Panlilio vowed to send a fighting national team to the 19th Asian Games despite difficulties in convincing the Hangzhou organizers that the country is fielding players with legitimate credentials.

“Despite the difficulties, we will continue to fight despite the handicapped situation,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio told a press conference on Tuesday at the Philippine Basketball Association offices in Libis, Quezon City.

“We are thankful to the PBA and to the team owners, and we appreciate the sacrifice, unconditional love that they gave,” added Panlilio, also known in the basketball community with his initials ASP.

The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (Hagoc) denied an appeal to include Calvin Abueva, Mo Tautuaa, Jason Perkins and Terrence Romeo in the country’s final 12 for the 5×5 competitions, saying they’re neither in the original Entry by Names nor do they satisfy the continental games’ regulations on residency.

Taking their place are Chris Ross, Arvin Tolentino, CJ Perez and Kevin Alas.

Representatives from the Philippine delegation painstakingly engaged the Hagoc to a long-drawn delegation registration meeting, or DRM, on Sunday and Monday, but almost to no avail.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino already flew to Hangzhou on Tuesday—three days ahead of the opening ceremony on Saturday and six days off the 5×5 basketball tip-off between the Philippines and Bahrain.

“We in constant communication with POC President Abraham Tolentino regarding this matter…every day,” Panlilio said.

Head coach Tim Cone stressed in the same press conference that it’s not only the SBP and PBA which are deadest at fielding a competitive team despite the minimal preparation window.

“The players really want to play for the country at any cost,” said Cone, who immediately motored to the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba where the nationals set up camp.

Team manager Alfrancis Chua also hasn’t given up hope on the four players denid by Hagoc.

“There is still a small chance that Terrence, Calvin, Jason and Mo will make the Ffnal 12,” Chua said. “They are still waiting for an approval from Hagoc that could come in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

While awaiting the Hagoc to make its decision official, Cone has been practicing all the players at his disposal.

“They are practicing even if they are going to be in the lineup or not,” said Cone, referring to Ross, Tolentino, Perez and Alas.

Cone also said that San Miguel Beer gunner Marcio has replaced Roger Pogoy, who’s not available for a medical reason.

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and Commissioner Willie Marcial and Terrafirma team governor and league vice chairman Bobby Rosales also attended the press conference.

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