It had been a year since the Philippines lost the gold medal in men’s basketball to Indonesia, ending their 52-game winning streak that dated back to 1997.
Now, the Philippines is determined to redeem themselves in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, which was set to take place in May.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president, Al Panlilio, is vocal about their mission to regain basketball glory in the region, saying, “That moment is upon us, and we’re not leaving any stone unturned in our overall bid to regain basketball glory in our region.
“What we’ve gone through after that fateful day in Hanoi, both the wins and the losses in the various tournaments that followed, are, in effect, geared also toward bringing the SEA Games gold medal back to our shores,” he continued.
“And once Gilas assembles and starts practice for the competition in Cambodia, I expect nothing else but 100 percent effort and serious resolve in sending the most competitive national team possible to do the job of winning back the Gold. That is our commitment to our basketball-loving countrymen.”
For 5-on-5 basketball, the SBP submitted a 28-man national pool for its Entry By Name (EBN) list to the Philippine Olympic Committee, led by six-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Roger Pogoy, and naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee.
With only Fajardo and Pogoy as holdovers from the 2021 lineup, the roster included 26 new additions to the 5-on-5 Gilas pool.
New faces that have yet to play for Gilas Men are Mikey Williams, Jeremiah Gray, brothers Michael and Ben Phillips, Mason Amos, Jerom Lastimosa, Brandon Rosser, Deschon Winston, and AJ Edu.
Completing the pool are CJ Perez, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Christian Standhardiger, Stanley Pringle Jr, Calvin Oftana, JP Erram, Mikey Williams, Chris Newsome, Raymond Almazan, Norman Aaron Black, Arvin Tolentino, Kevin Alas, and Kevin Quiambao.
Head coach Chot Reyes, who is also set to lead the Philippine team in FIBA World Cup 2023, would also handle the team for the SEA Games.
On the men’s 3×3 side, the pool will consist of Angelo Kouame, Almond Vosotros, Samboy De Leon, Brandon Bates, Jorey Napoles, Lervin Flores, Joseph Eriobu, Jeff Manday, Alfred Batino, and Joseph Sedurifa. Head coach is Lester Del Rosario.
Meanwhile, Gilas Women will also have a stacked pool as it defends gold.
Headlining Patrick Aquino’s team are Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, Stefanie Berberabe, and Mai Loni Henson.
Veterans are Sofia Roman, Mikka Cacho, Clare Castro, Chack Cabinbin, Khate Castillo, Camille Clarin, Monique Allison Del Carmen, Ella Fajardo, Katrina Guytingco, Andrea Tongco, Janine Pontejos, Tin Cayabyab, Ann Pingol, Jhazmin Joson, and Angel Surada.
Gilas Women will also bring in a lot of young guns in Kacey Dela Rosa, Louna Ozar, Aurea Gingras, Kristan Yumul, Kennan Ka, amd Katelyn Bobadilla.
The Gilas Women 3×3 pool will consist of Animam, Bernardino, Castillo, Dela Rosa, Pontejos, Castro, Cayabyab, and Henson.
The Philippines is determined to send the most competitive national team possible to not just regain the gold medals that it lost but also complete a sweep of the sport like in 2019.