SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan expressed concerned over the quality of opponents Gilas Pilipinas will face in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.
The 28th-ranked national team is in arguably the toughest among the three qualifiers to be held simultaneously from July 5-10 as it is grouped with world No. 5 France, eighth-ranked, Turkey, and 26th-ranked Canada -- teams which are loaded with NBA stars.
New Zealand, ranked 21st, and 26th-ranked Senegal complete the Manila leg.
“I’m starting to get worried,” Pangilinan said on Saturday night after the Spin.ph Sportsman of the Year awards. “But the best antidote to that is to prepare well. That’s what coach Tab has been saying as well.”
“Let’s choose the best players that are available for the event and prepare hard,” he added, baring they held a meeting on Friday to lay the foundation of Gilas team ahead of the Rio Olympics qualifier.
“We met with coach Tab just to get an initial idea, suggestion niya on what he’s thinking about now that we know kung sinong kalaban natin,” Pangilinan said, adding Baldwin reiterated his desire to secure the services of Jordan Clarkson and Andray Blatche.
“Sabi niya, give me about a week or so to get other Gilas coaches’ views on which team ideally would have the best chance to qualify,” added the venerable sports partron, who received the Spin.ph Sportsman Who Make it Happen plum.
What excites Pangilinan is Gilas having home-court edge as he called out the fans for their usual support.
“We need the Filipino fans to come out there fully supporting the team.”