PHILIPPINE sports officials are hoping the Asian Games-bound team in Indonesia will improve on its seventh-place finish four years ago in Incheon, Korea.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas admitted a medal will be a “long shot” for the Asiad-bound team, considering that four years ago, the Gilas Pilipinas squad that was fresh from competing in the Fiba World Cup in 2014 and only placed seventh.
“Shinare ko sa kanya ‘yung expectations ng POC. The POC’s expectations is to perform better than they performed in the last Asian Games in Korea. That is what we want to achieve,” said Vargas.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao was appointed as mentor for the Asian Games team bound for Indonesia after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) reconsidered its decision not to send a basketball team in the quadrennial competition.
“I mentioned to coach Yeng that if we perform better than that, that would be excellent considering the time that we spent for the team,” Vargas said.
Vargas is confident that with the team Guiao formed, the goal is achievable.
“I think with this kind of lineup, we were able to bring in more players that could help the team. We would probably perform better, six, five, four, or maybe, a long shot, getting into the medal round,” said Vargas.
“We will be very happy from the POC standpoint if we perform better than that,” said Vargas.
Vargas said sports officials also came to the realization that the basketball-loving Filipinos are happier to see the basketball team play in the Asian Games than to win a medal.
“The country is even happier simply because we are fielding a basketball team in the Asian Games. That became more important that to win the medal. (Sabi ng mga fans) gusto lang namin sila makita maglaro," the sports official said.
"Ang sinabi naman namin dito sa PBA at sa SBP at sa coach natin na talagang pusong Pinoy, sa kanila (fans) is not only to play but to actually do their best and show their effort and the heart that we Filipinos are looking for when we look at our players during the game,” added Vargas.
Guiao said the coaching staff will do their best to perform with a decent finish in the Asiad.
“We will represent our country to the best of our ability. Our objective is to make our country proud,” said Guiao.