THERE are bigger battles ahead and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is ready to move forward.
Focus for the country’s governing body for basketball now shifts to the national teams’ upcoming major tournaments as well as ongoing preparations being undertaken for the hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Appearing in the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios said the Gilas Pilipinas team has begun training for its campaign in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand and Manila, and later on in the FIBA Asia Cup Championship in Indonesia.
Nenad Vucinic will handle the Gilas team for the World Cup qualifiers, before Chot Reyes takes the coaching job anew for the Asia Cup Championship, an arrangement which Barrios said has been approved even before the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
And then there’s the U-16 FIBA Asian Championship in Doha, Qatar where the Gilas Youth team under coach Josh Reyes hopes to clinch a berth in the U-17 World Cup in Malaga, Spain, and the U-16 women’s team of coach Pat Aquino that’s also seeing action in the Asian Championship in Amman, Jordan.
“We are very inclusive in planning out how to move forward for this 2023 World Cup which we are hosting para ng sa ganun ang ating buong bayan will support and be behind our Gilas Pilipinas team kasi alam nilang pinag-handaan ng mabuti yung tournament,” said the SBP official.
Barrios admitted there are lessons learned in Gilas Pilipinas losing the basketball gold to Indonesia in the Hanoi SEA Games.
“Fielding the best that we can is of utmost importance para yung cohesion and preparing for an extended period of time and not just a couple of weeks or even a month ay mas maganda. Mas matagal, mas maganda,” offered the former PBA commissioner in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Unilever, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“The value of scouting the opposition is also a lesson learned moving forward for any tournament for that matter.”
Simultaneous with the preparations being undertaken by the national teams is the groundwork being made by the SBP for the successful staging of the World Cup next year which the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.
Barrios said the basketball federation is in constant communications with its Japanese and Indonesian counterparts to ensure the success of the quadrennial showpiece being co-hosted in three different countries for the first time in history.
FIBA officials personally inspected the three venues where the games will be held here, namely the Mall of Asia Arena, Smart Araneta Coliseum, and the Philippine Arena, last April.
“Binisita nila yung tatlong playing venues and yung mga official hotels na tutuluyan ng mga delegations during the World Cup,” said Barrios, who was named event director for the country’s World Cup hosting.