Only two days ago, there was a little bit of excitement at the prospect that, for the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta this September, the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team might have the honor and privilege of finally playing alongside Filipino-American NBA star player, Jordan Clarkson. That sounded like the best news to compensate for the abysmal fate of Gilas Pilipinas following the penalties imposed upon it for brawling with Team Australia during the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Now, however, basketball fans in the country are hit with bad news: there will be no Gilas at the Asian Games.
CNN Philippines reports that the Men’s National Basketball Team has been pulled out of the 2018 Asiad by decision of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the FIBA-recognized governing body of Philippine basketball. The SBP dropped the bombshell in an official statement delivered just this Thursday, July 26. The reason provided for withdrawing Gilas from the games was to give both the team and SBP time to recover from the FIBA-imposed penalties of the recent Brawl with Australia, where 10 players and two coaching staff received multiple game suspensions for future games. The SBP is planning to appeal the decision.
With Gilas head coach Chot Reyes out of commission due to the sanctions, the SBP called on Coach Yeng Guiao of the PBA’s NLEX Road Warriors last Tuesday, July 24, to manage the national team and try to finalize its 18-man roster for the Asiad, with the submission deadline already having passed. The proposed team composition had been composed of players from the Gilas Cadets, PBA’s Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, and the potential game-breaker Jordan Clarkson, currently a Cleveland Cavalier over at the NBA. In the following two days, however, it became clear that there was really no time.
The SBP statement issued a stream of apologies: to the Filipino fans, the Asian Games organizers and all other Asian basketball teams who will be participating while Gilas will not. It also thanked the owners and coach of Rain or Shine, which had a significant proportion of players part of the national team; as well as to Yeng Guiao for their “willingness to represent the nation” despite all the setbacks in the way. “The SBP resolves to improve its systems, and to prepare programs that will better ensure respectable performances of our teams internationally, of which our countrymen can be truly proud,” concluded the statement.
Other Filipino national athletes and sports teams will still be making the journey to Indonesia for the 2018 Asian Games, which will be held from August 18 to September 2 at the cities of Jakarta, the nation’s capital, and Palembang.
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