By JONAS TERRADO
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas apologized for the disastrous campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games that saw Gilas Pilipinas lose the men’s basketball gold to Indonesia.
SBP president Al Panlilio broke his silence Wednesday – three days after the Philippines’ decades-long reign in the regional meet came to a stunning end with an 85-81 loss to Indonesia at the Tranh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“We at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas share the disappointment of our Filipino basketball fans and take full responsibility with the results of our 31st Southeast Asian Games campaign,” Panlilio said in a statement released by the federation.
“We apologize we fell short and we’re not able to give our teams better support that they needed to retain the Gold. There are no excuses and we’ve learned valuable lessons.”
Gilas was hoping for a 14th consecutive gold and 19th overall but Indonesia put on a determined performance that led to a result that led to shock and anger among local cage fans back home.
The loss came even with eight PBA players led by June Mar Fajardo and brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, fresh from their stints in Japan’s B.League, on the squad. Losses absorbed by the Philippines in 1979 and 1989 had an all-amateur roster.
Coach Chot Reyes immediately took the blame for the failed mission, but that didn’t stop calls for him to step down and hand the reins back to Tab Baldwin.
SBP officials have been mum since the debacle, even cancelling a scheduled press conference regarding the FIBA Asia Cup Trophy Tour last Tuesday.
Even the SBP’s official Instagram page, which is handled by a third-party group, came under fire after it reportedly made a big gaffe by posting a story showing Reyes kneeling on the floor while also supporting any move to bring back Baldwin.
Panlilio vowed that the cage federation will use the lessons of the recent campaign to do better as he and the rest of the SBP brass continue to ponder on what went wrong.
“We will bounce back and reclaim our spot to stay ahead,” he said.