As hosts and as a basketball-crazy country, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is eyeing a sweep of all the four basketball golds at stake in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games.
SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios said that was the directive of the country’s top basketball officials – to win both golds in the men’s and women’s categories composed of five-on-five and 3-on-3 competitions, respectively.
“That’s the mandate,” Barrios disclosed during the very first Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum for 2019 on Tuesday at the Tapa King Restaurant in Farmers Plaza Cubao.
The challenge is for the women’s team to deliver, since the Perlas Pilipinas have yet to win a breakthrough gold in the biennial meet. On the other hand, their men’s counterparts have won all the golds except for two since the country first joined the biennial meet in 1977.
Multi-titled coach Patrick Aquino will continue to call the shots for the women’s squad.
“That’s why nai-stress na si coach Pat kasi alam ninyo naman mas mabigat yung challenge sa kanya. Yung sa men’s, sabi nga nila, kapag nanalo ng less than fifty, galit pa tayo sa coach,” said Barrios in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Tapa King, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
“Kasi masyadong mataas na yung standard natin sa Southeast Asia. But sa women’s hindi pa tayo nag-go-gold. We missed it a few years back,” added the former PBA commissioner. “Now that we’re playing here, coach Pat is really preparing the team.”
In contrast, the men’s team is still unaccounted for, although Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas earlier expressed his desire to see an all-PBA squad.
Vargas also happens to be the current chairman of the PBA Board.
“Ngayon pinag-uusapan ng PBA at SBP is to provide the best,” said Barrios, stressing that the country can’t leave nothing to chance especially as SEA Games host.
“’Pag nag-host ka there is nothing as overkill. Gusto natin to win, and not just win but win big,” he added. “Pero lahat yun pinag-aaralan, don’t quote me as if it is cast in stone.”
The SBP executive revealed during the discussion that they had considered including other basketball events in the SEA Games calendar aside from the 5×5 and 3×3.
“We did. Ang daming pinag-usapan na basketball events. But at the end of the day, the SEA Games Federation Council just settled for the four events,” said Barrios.
Rumors swirled last year that the SBP had proposed to add a dunk contest, three-point shootout, and skills challenge as medal sports to the SEAG.
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