THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas defended the decision to endorse only the men’s team and not the women's squad for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, saying its hands are tied with the stringent qualification standards set by sports officials.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said the basketball body is left with no choice but to follow the guidelines set by both the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission, which insist that only sure gold medals winners will be sent to the Myanmar Games.
“We are guided by the direction of the POC and PSC. That’s basically it as far as SBP is concerned. We are guided by the higher ups,” Barrios said.
Only the men’s basketball squad was recommended by the SBP and, eventually, the SEAG Task Force to participate in the biennial meet based on the criteria - a decision that did not sit well with the women's team which is now appealing its case before chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.
The women’s team pointed out that while it only settled for the silver medal in the 2011 SEA Games, the gold medal match was marred by controversy after Thailand made a questionable buzzer-beating three-pointer to force overtime.
“Mas gusto natin kung puwede. Kasi if the POC and PSC, kung sinabi nila upon their review na puwedeng isama, magsasama tayo,” Barrios said.
Barrios, however, said there is no indication that the POC and the PSC will have a change of heart.
“The way I see it, I’m not into defying. As late as Monday, they emphasized the general direction na gusto nila. It’s a non-issue kasi wala tayong magagawa eh. It’s not up to us,” Barrios said.
The POC and PSC had even asked basketball officials to beef up the Gilas cadet team with PBA players to ensure a gold medal result, despite SBP assurances that the cadet team composed of collegiate players are capable of handily winning the SEA Games title in Myanmar.
“Pinamukha na sa atin kung ano ang pananaw nila … In fact, while supposedly gusto nila ’yung most likely gold, gusto pa nila Gilas Pilipinas pa ang ipadala (men’s team). Ganoon ang position nila na dapat ganoon halos kasigurado sa gold ’yung contingent,” Barrios said.
Barrios also said he has not received any formal communications from the women’s team coached by Haydee Ong about a possible appeal.
“Right now, there is no move into that direction (to appeal). I’ve not received any formal appeal from the women’s team,” said Barrios.