A TOP official of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) reiterated its stand that collegiate players or members of the Gilas cadet team are capable of handily winning the basketball gold in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
SBP treasurer Dr. Jay Adalem said there’s no need to reinforce the national team with PBA players, insisting the Filipinos are way above their Southeast Asian counterparts as far as the sport is concerned.
“The level of basketball in the country is entirely way ahead of them (Southeast Asian nations). So I think there’s no reason to fear that we might lose,” Adalem said to Spin.ph.
Both Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia have expressed their desire to have pro players reinforcing the national team to the SEA Games as they believe the Filipinos are becoming vulnerable in the sport closest to their hearts.
Cojuangco even warned that a loss in the SEA Games basketball competitions would be the "ultimate debacle" for Team Philippines.
That’s the reason why Cojuangco and Garcia stressed the cage team will only be added to the Philippine contingent if and when it can prove it’s a cinch to win the gold – the strict criteria adopted by a task force currently screening members of the country’s delegation. (For full story, see Believe it or not, PH cage team needs to prove itself worthy of SEA Games ticket)
Adalem said he understands the concern of both the POC and PSC, but remains confident the Filipinos can retain the basketball gold for the ninth straight time if and when they are allowed to go with Team Philippines.
“I know where they are coming from especially since lahat naman ng Southeast Asian teams gustong manalo,” said the SBP official. “But ako I honestly believe even with collegiate players, kaya nating manalo.
"'Yung cadet team and then sama mo na yung naturalized player natin (Marcus Douthit). I think that would be enough.”
Handled by coach Norman Black, the Sinag-Pilipinas team bannered by Bobby Ray Parks and members of the cadet pool easily retained the basketball gold during the 2011 edition of the SEA Games in Indonesia.