September 4, 2014

What's Next for Gilas?

Photo from FIBA.com

Now that the FIBA World Cup journey has ended for Gilas, I am curious to see what happens next for the Philippine national men's basketball program. Going into the tournament, it was clear that the goal was to play competitive basketball against higher ranked teams (check!) and to win at least one game (check again!). Thus, it can be concluded that this was a successful outing for the national team and the men's basketball program.

If there were still any doubters, I think it can now safety be said that we have one of the strongest teams in Asia. Looking at the three teams from Asia that qualified for the tournament, we can say that we outperformed both Korea and Iran. Korea went win-less while Iran lost by an average margin on 19.25 points compared with Philippines loss margin of just 5.75 points. Iran also scored on average just 68.8 points while allowing opponents to score 81.2 points compared with Philippines which scored 76.7 points while allowing 80.8 points. Of course Philippines, Iran and Korea each faced a different set of opponents, so a direct comparison of just pure averages should be taken with a grain of salt.


The experience gained by Gilas, being able to prove that we can compete with the best in the world, will be invaluable as we come back to Asia and try to build on the team's current success. Hopefully, the successful program put into place during the run up to the World Cup is continued. We already have the formula, now we just need to follow through and think long-term.

Hopefully, the nasty politics that has plagued Philippine basketball (and the national program) in the past is put aside for the greater good of the country. We can say that we have the players in place, including a steady pipeline of younger talent, and the financial backing to get proper training and support. We also now have the experience and confidence to match the heart (PUSO!) that the team has been known for.

What's next for Gilas? Hopefully a continued and sustained presence as one of the dominant basketball nations in Asia. The beauty of Gilas is that 1) we are not reliant on one or two NBA caliber stars the way some national teams are or had been and 2) that the team has a clear identity and a clear higher purpose.

The future looks bright for Gilas and I can only say that it's about damn time!

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