The result of the ongoing South East Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) men’s championships in Medan, Indonesia is a no-brainer.
In fact, I consider the presence of an all-pro Powerade Team Pilipinas’ presence there, an over kill because which among the Southeast Asian neighbors of the Philippines could beat our national team?
With veterans like Asi Taulava, Mick Pennisi, James Yap, Kerby Raymundo and Willie Miller leading the way, there’s no way RP coach Yeng Guiao could go wrong in trying to win the four games they’ll be playing there. And I’m pretty sure the winning margin wouldn’t be less than 25 points per game.
Anyway, with the SEABA crown expected to go to the Philippines by the end of June 10, I’m more interested on how the national team will fair against Asia’s best come the 25th FIBA Asia Men’s basketball championships in Tianjin, China this August.
Of course, the memory of the 2007 performance remains fresh in the minds of some of the PBA players there. Guys like Tayulava, Pennisi, James Yap, Kerby Raymundo and Fil-Am Gabe Norwood were part of that team that couldn’t get past the so-called “Group of Death” where the Philippines was bunched with eventual champion Iran, China and Jordan.
The Philippines failed to land even in the top five of the FIBA-Asia men’s tournament even though millions of pesos had been poured out during that year for their training.
Anyway, that’s another bitter pill to swallow for the basketball bigwigs, who I believe, are trying their very best to bring back the glory days of the Philippines beginning with this latest RP team edition handled by multi-titled PBA coach Yeng Guiao.
Ahh, I hope that in my lifetime, I’d be able to see the Philippine team celebrating its Asian Games, FIBA-Asia Men’s championship and Olympics triumphs.
All I had were basically clippings and some past articles I wrote about RP’s legendary players, who were members of the different national teams that dominated the basketball playing field in Asia during the 1960s.
I remembered what the great Filipino basketball legend Carlos “Great Difference” Loyzaga was telling me when I was still a budding sports writer for the Manila Times 11 years ago.
“No one could really beat us during our time. And we were all passionate in playing for the country, even though there was no allowance. Our pride was to hear the Philippine national anthem played after the competition, which means we would win the basketball title in Asia,” said Loyzaga, a member of the Mythical First Team in the 1954 World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Hopefully, we’d be able to see a new breed of Filipino basketball players who’ll be as dedicated and as passionate as Loyzaga in playing for our country.