WITH Gilas Pilipinas qualifying for the Fiba World Cup anew, we will all be bracing ourselves for a full basketball calendar this year. There will be no off-season for us basketball aficionados. NBA Playoffs, PBA, SEA Games and the Fiba World Cup. This is indeed a great time to be a basketball fan.
Now that Gilas has qualified, what is in store for the team? It is very evident that we need the help of Andray Blatche to secure the spot even if the locals did their part. International basketball relies heavily on height and agility of the players. The current pool has these elements already they just need more time to work together and work on their team chemistry and familiarity. If it is any indication of progress, the game against Kazakhstan showed a more mature and capable line up who can match up with international teams. With the 1-4 record in the 2014 edition, this team will be raring for a better win-loss record and hope to advance to the second round of competitions.
Another intriguing proposition being floated this early is to have Jordan Clarkson play as a local for the team. He has a clear Filipino lineage but due to a FIBA technicality, he cannot don the team Pilipinas jersey as a local. Interestingly, this is the same technicality that allows Africans to play as local Qataris even if they don’t have any Qatari lineage. Talk about fair play. It’s not a long shot though. SBP was able to make work of getting Greg Slaughter play as a local and they should start working on getting Clarkson cleared to play as a local for the Fiba World Cup the soonest they can.
The mission of returning to the Fiba World Cup stage has already been accomplished. However, it is not the time to rest on such accomplishment. We should make the most out of this opportunity. Prepare the best team that can compete in the world basketball stage. Get everyone’s commitment to put the country first. From the SBP to the sponsors to coaches, players and fans. With all the ills in the country hounding us no end, this is a perfect chance for us Filipinos to share our basketball talents to the world and show them that we are better than what they perceive as to be.