MANNY V. Pangilinan got a fitting sendoff less than 24 hours after announcing he’s stepping down as president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
The overachieving Gilas Pilipinas team continued its rise in the Fiba Rankings following its runner-up finish in the recent Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China.
In the latest world rankings released by the world governing body for the sport, the Philippines is now at No. 28, up by three notches from its previous ranking at 31.
The Filipinos are also now No. 3 in Asia as they moved past bitter rival South Korea, which fell to No. 30 following its failure to make the semifinals of the Olympic qualifying meet.
The new Fiba rankings came out almost on the same day Pangilinan declared in a hastily-called press conference that his two-year term as head of the country’s basketball federation has come to an end and he’s no longer eligible to seek another one as per the Constitution and By-Laws of the SBP.
Pangilinan described this third and latest version of Gilas Pilipinas as ‘a special team’ which exceeded expectations after finishing runner-up behind China in last week’s Fiba Asia tournament despite not having enough time to prepare after coach Tab Baldwin failed to get the players he desired to be part of the ballclub.
China regaining the title after its 78-67 demolition of the Philippines kept its top position as the highest ranked team in Asia as it remained at No. 14, followed by Iran three notches at No. 17, despite the team’s failure to defend its title and settled for a bronze medal finish in the same tournament.
With former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman at the helm, Jordan kept its No. 29 position sandwiched between the Philippines and Korea.
Lebanon was the biggest loser among Asian countries after it fell nine notches to No. 43. The country has just returned to competing in the international stage following the lifting of the Fiba suspension and made it to the knockout stage of the Olympic qualifier where it lost to the Philippines.
Also reeling back was Chinese-Taipei at no. 48 (-4) after it failed to make the quarterfinals of the meet. The Taiwanese finished fourth during the 2013 Fiba Asia edition in Manila in a remarkable campaign than saw them beat China for the first time ever during the knockout phase.