Gilas Pilipinas is expected to retain the country’s Southeast Asian men’s basketball title late this month, but standing in the Filipinos’ way is Thailand, which will be reinforced by Thai-American Tyler Lamb.
Lamb, a vital member of the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions, who ruled the 2017 ASEAN Basketball League season last April, finally got the green light to play for Thailand in the SEA Games set to start on August 20 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
An athletic wingman, who can score in bunches, Lamb and the Thais will get to test Gilas Pilipinas’ mettle in the opening day of the biennial games.
The 26-year-old Lamb admitted that the Philippines, along with China are the two strongest teams in Asia today.
“Well, basketball in Asia, it’s no secret that China and the Philippines are two of the strongest,” Lamb told FOX Sports in a recent chat.
But the high-scoring guard also believes his teammates are locked in on their goal to unseat the Philippines and finally win a very first gold medal in the SEA Games.
“I believe in my teammates 100 percent and our main goal is to win the gold medal. I don’t know if I will be a marked man but I have some experience playing against some of their players on that roster so I know it will be a hard fought game,” explained Lamb, who is familiar with Bobby Ray Parks, having played against the former UAAP MVP in the ABL.
Lamb said the Thais have been in training camp the past days as they make their final preparation.
“Most importantly, every man in our 12-man roster is more than capable of coming and affecting the game positively,” shared the former Long Beach State standout. “The Thai players have continued to get better and now, we will have a good test to see where we stand in Asia.”
Lamb, who wasn’t around when Thailand placed third in the 2017 SEABA men’s championships in Manila last May, averaged 18.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals for the Long Lions’ this past ABL season.
But then again, the athletic Thai-American knows it will take more than just individual talent to end the Philippines’ stranglehold in the Southeast Asian region.
“It’s not an individual thing for me. It’s more of a pride of Thailand and wanting to bring the first ever gold medal to the country in basketball,” he added.
Gilas veteran Kiefer Ravena admitted Lamb is a huge addition for Thailand, but he’s also confident that the national team have enough defenders, who can contain the talented Thai-American.
“He’s a guy who can play the guard and a forward position in the Southeast Asian level,” observed the “Phenom”, who will be gunning for a record fourth SEA Games gold medal.
“The experience he gained being champions in the ABL and and experience in the US in college, that’s big for him, but hopefully maayos namin yan ang ma-negate agad because we have capable defenders who can stop him and make it hard for him in his debut sa SEA Games.”
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