SINGAPORE is looking to tap naturalized players in its quest to wrest the basketball gold medal from the Philippines when the Lion City hosts the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
In a report by Singapore newspaper Today, Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) president David Ong said they are gearing up for an 18-month training program in preparation for the SEA Games next year.
Singapore recently won its first-ever medal in SEA Games basketball, claiming the bronze last year in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Ong also bared that foreign players from the Asean Basketball League side Singapore Slingers are also looking to see action for the country in international play.
“Some of the players are considering playing for Singapore,” said Ong. “We welcome it and are open to it if we have a good playmaker or players who can contribute to the team.”
The Philippines, with naturalized player Marcus Douthit in the lineup, handily won the gold medal in Myanmar last year despite only preparing for over a month.
A Sinag Pilipinas team made up for Gilas cadets and college standouts had little difficulty disposing of Singapore with an 88-75 victory.
Singapore looks unperturbed and has lined up a busy schedule in its buildup for next year’s SEA Games.
“They have brought enthusiasm and interest in basketball back to Singapore. We have to make sure our national players play in enough high-level tournaments consistently and have lined up a busy schedule for the year,” Ong said.
BAS has also vowed to give at least Singapore $5,000 to each player if Singapore wins the gold in next year’s SEA Games. Singaporean national team members pocketed $1,000 each for winning the bronze in Myanmar.
The Sinag Pilipinas players shared a P200,000 incentive for winning the gold.