A year after the Philippines conceded the gold medal in men’s basketball to Indonesia during the rescheduled 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, ending a 52-game winning streak dating back to 1997, the country’s own version of the Redeem Team flies to Phnom Penh this May for the 32nd edition of the SEA Games.
“That moment is upon us, and we’re not leaving any stone unturned in our overall bid to regain basketball glory in our region,” says Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio.
“What we’ve gone through after that fateful day in Hanoi, both the wins and the losses in the various tournaments that followed, are, in effect, geared also toward bringing the SEA Games gold medal back to our shores.
“And once Gilas assembles and starts practice for the competition in Cambodia, I expect nothing else but 100 percent effort and serious resolve in sending the most competitive national team possible to do the job of winning back the Gold. That is our commitment to our basketball-loving countrymen.”
SBP has submitted a 28-man national pool for its Entry By Name (EBN) list to the Philippine Olympic Committee led by six-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee.
Joining Fajardo and Brownlee are CJ Perez, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, Earl Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Christian Standhardiger, Stanley Pringle Jr, Roger Pogoy, Calvin John Oftana, John Paul Erram, Michael Williams, Chris Newsome, Raymond Almazan, Norman Aaron Black, Arvin Tolentino, Kevin Louie Alas, Brandon Rosser, Deschon Winston, Karl Kevin Quiambao, Jerom Lastimosa, Mason Francis Amos, Benjamin Phillips III, Ariel John Edu, Michael Phillips, and Jeremiah Gray.
Twenty-six of the players in the roster are new additions to the 5×5 Gilas pool, with only Fajardo and Pogoy as holdovers from the 2021 lineup, along with head coach Chot Reyes, who will also handle the Philippine team in FIBA World Cup 2023, which the country is lead-hosting with Japan and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10.
Meanwhile, the Philippine women’s team will be looking to extend its dominance in the region under national coach Pat Aquino as it guns for a third straight SEA Games gold medal.
Its pool of players for the 2023 edition as submitted to the POC include Jack Danielle Animam, Afril Bernardino, Stefanie Ann Berberabe, Mikka Cacho, Clare Castro, France Mae Cabinbin, Ana Alicia Katrina Castillo, Camille Izabel Clarin, Monique Allison Del Carmen, Ella Patrice Fajardo, Katrina Guytingco, Marizze Andrea Tongco, Janine Pontejos, Angelica Marie Surada, Quinn Kacey Dela Rosa, Mai Loni Lashae’ Henson, Louna Ozar, Kristine Cayabyab, Aurea Day Marie Gingras, Kristan Geyl Yumul, Kennan Elizabeth Ka, Katelyn Bobadilla, Karl Ann Pingol, Sofia Isabella Roman, and Jhazmin Joson.
The PH women’s team won the gold in Manila and defended the title in Hanoi last year, eyeing a record three-peat now which would put it within reach of second-running Thailand, with five gold medals behind perennial champion Malaysia, way ahead with 13.