Gilas Pilipinas will not back down.
Even with just a week before Gilas Pilipinas opens their Asian Games campaign, the national team’s final lineup has yet to be official.
Lineup issues have caused the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas [SBP] to find ways to ensure that Gilas will have a proper team come the tournament in Hangzhou.
Fortunately, the SBP was able to find five players who will take part in the preparation for the Asiad and will likely replace the players, namely Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Terrence Romeo, and Mo Tautuaa, not included in the 60- and 37-man initial lists for the tournament. RR Pogoy is also out due to injury.
While it’s clear that the SBP has been having a hard time fixing everything for the national team, Gilas team manager Alfrancis Chua has made it clear that they will give it their all.
“Nandito kami, kami na ang gumawa, kami na ang lalaban, so kahit ganun siguro 'yung lineup, lalaban kami,” Chua said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The San Miguel Corporation sports director even admitted that the team has been able to grow throughout these struggles.
“Ang dami nagsabi mag-withdraw, 'yan pinaka-madali. That's the quickest way para hindi na sumakit ang ulo namin,” said Chua. “We talked to the four [Abueva, Perkins, Romeo, Tautuaa], talagang iyakan kasi kahit sandali lang na oras, talagang naging solid 'yung team.”
SBP chairman Ricky Vargas says there’s no giving up among the players and officials.
“Nandito na tayo, we're here. We've crossed the line and we have decided that we will continue with this team and we're out there giving our utmost best,” said Vargas.
Vargas also reiterated how special this group was considering everything they’ve had to go through.
“There was something special with this group that got together and said that we want to play,” said Vargas. “It even became more special when we went through all these difficulties and in the PBA board room, we all decided that we will not quit.”
Gilas will begin their Asian Games campaign on September 26 against Bahrain.