MANILA, Philippines -- Officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Tuesday apologized for the performance of Gilas Pilipinas in the recent 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, acknowledging the role they played in the national team's dismal outing.
The Philippines went 0-5 in the tournament, and finished last among 32 teams. Coach Yeng Guiao resigned in the aftermath of the World Cup, leaving Gilas without a coach just a few months before the Southeast Asian Games.
"It's fair to state that the team and the coaching staff led by coach Yeng tried their very best," said SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, who arrived in Manila on Tuesday morning along with SBP president Al Panlilio, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, and PBA chairman Ricky Vargas.
They received the FIBA flag from China last Sunday during the halftime of the gold medal game, to mark the passing over of hosting rights for the 2023 World Cup.
"There are a host of reasons for their performance in 2019, when it’s probably fair as well to state that it’s a fair degree of disappointment in respect to the Philippine performance," he added.
"We'd like to really express our apologies to the Filipino people kasi kasama naman kami doon. SBP was part of that program, was part of the decisions that flowed to the formation and the performance of the Philippine team," said Pangilinan.
"So I think, it's our duty to apologize to our people."
But Pangilinan also wants the SBP to move on from the debacle of 2019, and put their focus on assessing what they need to do to ensure that Gilas will perform better in 2023.
The Philippines is assured of a spot in the next World Cup, as one of the three countries hosting the event along with Indonesia and Japan.
"We need to assess the right framework in order for us to do better and perform better in front of our fans here in the Philippines," said Panlilio. "So, we'll have to do a lot of strategic planning and we are scheduled to do that soon so that we can already develop that program."
"Clearly, when it comes to 2023, dapat ma-improve naman natin ang performance natin," Pangilinan said. "We should improve incrementally."
To accomplish this, SBP intends to learn from what happened in the 2019 World Cup, and take into account the notes given to them by outgoing coach Guiao. The mentor has previously said that the Philippines can gain much from studying European teams -- 12 of which advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in China.
"Can we learn more from Europe at this stage than from the US? Kasi tayo ang basketball natin is really oriented towards the NBA, di ba?" said Pangilinan.
"Idols ng Pilipino sila Steph Curry, LeBron (James), etc, etc. Pero parang nakakaligtaan natin 'yung husay ng mga European basketball teams. Can we learn from those?" he added.
The ultimate objective for SBP is for Gilas to regularly qualify to the World Cup, not just in 2023 as hosts. As Panlilio said, "Making the World Cup should be a norm."
"So even after the third World Cup, I think we have to work very hard also to make it to the fourth World Cup because we will not host that anymore," he said. "So, we have to make sure that we also are able to qualify for that World Cup. So this to become a norm to us, qualifying to the World Cup."
"That's something that we will work on and something that we need to assess and something that we will have to seriously think of moving forward and how we can develop," he added.
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