TWO years away from the Philippines' joint hosting of the 2023 Fiba World Cup, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio is setting the bar high for Gilas Pilipinas to not just compete but possibly overachieve in the global hoops conclave.
"From a team perspective, I think our objective is to always do better," he told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala on Saturday.
"We had one win in Seville, we didn't do too well in China. So we want to go to the next round sana when we host in 2023."
The Philippines hasn't progressed through the next round since the team led by the legendary Carlos Loyzaga steered the country to a bronze medal finish in the 1954 Fiba World Championship in Rio de Janeiro.
The Filipinos finished in eighth place out of 13 nations in Chile in 1959, 13th out of 14 countries in Puerto Rico in 1974, and went winless through eight games despite automatically advancing to the eight-team round-robin semifinal when Manila last hosted the Fiba World Championship in 1978.
Gilas' appearance in 2014 in Spain delivered a win over Senegal after five games, while the 2019 stint in China proved to be disastrous as the Philippines wound up dead-last among 32 teams.
It's only high time for the Philippines to change those fortunes come 2023.
"Does that mean two to three wins? Then hopefully that's the goal for us, to make it to the next stage," he said. "There's development, there's progress in our program. We're ranked 31st today, hopefully we can break the 20s sa future. It's progress every time."
Aside from Gilas' performance in the World Cup, Panlilio also hoped that conditions will improve once the games, to be jointly hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, roll on in 2023.
"We have been working on this since before World Cup in China finished. During this pandemic, a lot of virtual meetings happened. We've had board meetings with MVP and the other countries involved. Our objective is to host the best World Cup," he said. "We want to make sure everybody's safe. Hopefully by that time, vaccines are already out and in excess and everybody's safe, travel restrictions are lifted."
"China hosted a very successful hosting, but a lot of it was because of the technology and all the venues. We wanted to push the technology in our own way, but we want it to be the best fan-based experience that we can."