Gilas Pilipinas to reclaim Asian Games Gold Medal
A golden finish in the Asian Games.
That’s the target of the Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team participating in the quadrennial meet in Korea this year.
“What is it, 50 years? It was in 1964 since the last time we won an Asian Games gold. That’s the target, to win the gold,” Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes told a group of sportswriters shortly after the sendoff party at Max’s Restaurant in Scout Tuazon, Quezon City.
The Philippines won the first four editions of the Asian Games’ basketball tournament, starting with the sport’s debut in 1951.
But the country has not won since 1962, with China staking its claiming as the regional powerhouse, winning seven of the last nine times the games were held.
Following the team’s silver medal finish in last year’s FIBA Asia Championship, a performance that netted the Filipinos a spot in the World Cup, expectations have skyrocketed for the national squad.
And with the addition of NBA player Andray Blatche to the squad, Reyes is pretty optimistic about his team’s chances in the Asiad.
“I really like our chances, especially if we will able to get Andray Blatche playing very comfortably and very well with our team,” Reyes said.
“I think we will stand a very good chance.”
Last year, the Philippines placed runner-up behind eventual champion Iran and were able to give a good account of themselves despite the absence of naturalized center Marcus Douthit, who was sidelined with a shin injury in the finals.
“Remember last year, we didn’t have Marcus when we played Iran in the finals. Hopefully, we have a full roster whoever it is we play, hopefully we can get to the semifinals and again in the finals of the Asian Games,” he added.
Gilas point guard LA Tenorio agrees that the Asian Games are top priority for this team.
“The most important preparation is the Asian Games because we want to be the best in Asia,” Tenorio told InterAksyon.com in an exclusive interview.
“If we won’t be the best in the world, at least in Asia. Kailangan makakuha talaga kami ng gold sa Asian Games.”
By : Rey Joble, InterAksyon.com