SBP VP Al Panlilio reminds fans Gilas program remains ‘a process and a journey’

Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas vice president Al Panlilio said the national governing basketball body is scheduled to assess the current Gilas Pilipinas program in a week’s time in light of the PH team’s failed Olympic bid.

Panlilio, seen to be the heir apparent of SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, who is set to step down from his post soon, explained that Gilas’ back-to-back losses to France and New Zealand showed how far the national team is from reaching world basketball status.

“Definitely we have to assess what’s the best way for Gilas moving forward because from what we saw the last few days, iba ang level of competition and level of talent at the global stage,” Panlilio told FOX Sports on Thursday.

Gilas blew an early 10-point lead against France before losing to Tony Parker and Co., 93-84 on opening day. The Filipinos then fell short of their endgame rally, succumbing to the New Zealand Tall Blacks, 89-80 to kiss their Olympic dream goodbye.

The concurrent Meralco Bolts board representative explained that communication lines between the PBA and the SBP remain open as they try to come out with a clear-cut direction for the national basketball program.

Panlilio, who is also aware of the mixed sentiments netizens had on Gilas’ quick exit in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, reminded Filipino basketball fans that the national basketball program remains a “process and a journey”.

“Siyempre sayang dahil we couldn’t even go to the next level sa semis,” said Panlilio, who serves as the chief executive officer for the FIBA OQT local organizing committee.

“But we’re trying our very best. We have to remember that this is a process and a journey that we’ve embarked on since 2006, and makikita naman natin yung level of competition especially outside of Asia, where we’re seeded one of the top 2 or top 3,” he added.

“But if you put that at the world stage, sa level natin, alam natin marami pa tayong kailangang trabaho though we’ve already exposed ourselves to this kind of competition kasi that’s how you get better by playing that more (games),” said Panlilio.

Last month, Panlilio and PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa met to discuss the SBP’s plan to revival the Gilas cadet program.

Both basketball officials have agreed to solicit the opinions of the PBA board governors as they chart the direction of the country’s basketball program in light of the FIBA’s new home-and-away format, which will be implemented starting in 2017. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava

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