The brotherhood, which the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball squad developed when it made the finals of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, is something that team members have treasured most for many years.
Squad members of this renowned batch of the national squad said this after LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, Jeff Chan and Gary David were named FIBA Local Ambassadors from the Philippines, with Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
“Nu’ng nag-start kami, hindi lang puro basketball. May mga kuya kami, sina kuya Ranidel (de Ocampo), kuya Gary (David). Sila iyung mga nagpapagaan ng loob namin, at nagbibigay ng joke time (jokes) sa amin,” said Chan during the launch at the TV5 offices in Mandaluyong of the “One Year To Go” milestone leading to FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023
The “One Year To Go” countdown commemorates the ongoing preparations leading to the staging of the 2023 cagefest, which will be jointly hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 next year.
Back in 2014, Gilas Pilipinas made it to the FIBA World Cup in Spain to finish 21st place. Team Philippines made it to the World Cup after placing fourth in the FIBA Asia qualifiers.
Tenorio said their experience to make it to the final round was something that they hold dear because of the togetherness and the sense of family that the team continued to nurture through the years.
“Siguro, iyung ang pinakamalaking challenge ng Gilas natin ngayon, iyung journey nila,” said Tenorio.
Back then, Gilas just went through a weeklong tournament to make qualification.
This time, teams from Asia needed to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 through six tournament windows for over 15 months.
Most of the time, many key players were not available, compelling the coaching staff to make adjustments along the way and look for others who can make the time to play for Gilas on a particular window.
The qualifiers began November 2021 and will conclude in February 2023, this time with national teams playing home-and-away games in each of these event windows.
The country’s local ambassador vowed to be the embodiments of FIBA’s values and principles, upholding responsible, progressive, and team-work centered practices inside and outside the court.
Gray has been chosen with her worldwide recognition as a youth ambassador and arts advocate.
“I have no doubt that we made the right choice with members of Gilas 2014 and Catriona,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.
The One Year To Go milestone also marks the launch of the second phase of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 ticket sales with Final Phase packages becoming available.
Two exciting new packages are now for sale to the public: the Finals Ultimate Fan Pass and the Finals Superfan Pass.
The media conference encouraged fans to register to the “Win For All” community at https://register.worldcup.basketball and avail of these passes at early bird rates.