THE Smart Gilas-Pilipinas drew an opening day bye in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) men’s championship in Chiang Mai, Thailand next week.
The Nationals, reinforced by Alaska players Sonny Thoss, Mac Baracael, and L.A. Tenorio, won’t kick off their title bid until Wednesday when they take on Singapore.
The Seaba tilt is set July 3 to 7.
After Singapore, coach Jong Uichico and his Filipino crew battle Indonesia next (Thursday), followed by Malaysia (Friday), before they cap their campaign with a showdown against host Thailand on Saturday.
The meet, a qualifier for the Fiba-Asia Cup popularly known as the Stankovic Cup, is a single round elimination, with the team emerging on top winning the championship outright.
“It’s a short tournament. Walang championship ito, so you have to end up No. 1 at the end of the single round competition,” said Smart Gilas team manager Butch Antonio.
“Dahil nga maiksing tournament, there’s no room for error. If you get derailed one game, you have to rely on other teams to lose, and we don’t want to take such chance that’s why we tapped the services of the three players from Alaska.”
The Nationals leave for Chiang Mai on Sunday (July 1), according to Antonio, and return to the country as week after.
Aside from the three Aces, others comprising the Gilas squad are Marcus Douthit, Aldrech Ramos, Chris Tiu, Borgie Hermida, Dave Marcelo, Garvo Lanete, Eman Monfort, and Woody Co.