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Returning to the Podium of Greatness




It’s been decades since the Philippines was recognized as one of the basketball greats; not only in Asia, but in the world stage. That is how the story goes as Team Pilipinas embarks on its new journey on the staging of the 18th FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

32-National Teams, a gruelling group phase qualifiers, 8-host cities for the qualifying rounds, towards a single goal of basketball greatness! This is what awaits the best basketball nations of our time today. The 18th FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 is a culmination of hard work and monumental sacrifice and it starts August 31, 2019 to September 15, 2019 in host country China.



Did you know that way back 65 years ago from today, Philippine Basketball Legends’ Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga et al accomplished the unthinkable --- placing 3rd overall during the staging of the 2nd World Basketball Championship (1954 FIBA World Championship) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was during this time that the United States got its 1st FIBA Basketball World Cup title, besting host Brazil (1st Runner-up), the Philippines (2nd Runner-up), and France (4th), via  7-0 sweep of the Final Round of 8. Rounding up the group of finalist according to rank 5th to 8th spots are Formosa (Chinese-Taipei), Uruguay, Canada and Israel.

Team Pilipinas (formerly known as Gilas Pilipinas) went through the eye of the needle literally; needing to win its last two games on the road --- Qatar on Thursday (February 21) and Kazakhstan on Sunday (February 24), and gained a much needed boost from long-time nemesis Korea for beating Lebanon in its home turf. Incidentally, Lebanon is in the same boat as the Philippines with a win-or-go-home situation. Korea already locked its spot on the World Cup with a 10-2 record, with former Purefoods PBA Import Ricardo Ratliffe serving as Korea’s cornerstone naturalized player.


The Philippine’s line-up in the recently concluded Asia Qualifiers include: Naturalized player and former NBA Brooklyn Nets star Andray Blatche (6’11”), 5-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo (6’10”), dependable ring protector Poy Erram (6’7”), versatile bigman Japeth Aguilar (6’9”), enigmatic forward Jeth Troy Rosario (6’6”), defensive ace and team captain Gabe Norwood (6’5”), deadly shooters and defensive specialists  Marcio Lassiter (6’3”) – Roger Pogoy (6’11”) – Paul John Dalistan-Lee (6’0”) – Thirdy Ravena (6’2”), combo-guards and solid facilitators Andy Mark Barroca (5’10”) and William Jayson Castro (5’10”).

But it doesn’t take away the fact those others who made their own sacrifices for flag and country and represented Team Pilipinas in the past editions of FIBA Qualifiers, Jones Cup and the Olympics: Christian Karl Standhardinger Christian (6’8”), Gregory Slaughter (7’0”), Beau Belga (6’5”), Ian Sangalang (6’7”), Asi Taulava (6’9”), Raymond Almazan (6’9”), Allein Maliksi (6’3”), James Carlos Yap (6’3”), Alex Cabagnot (5’11”), Scottie Thompson (6’1”), Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (6’3”), Stanley Pringle (5’11”), Terrence Romeo (5’11”), Arwind Santos (6’4”), Kiefer Ravena (6’1”), Matthew Wright (6’4”), LA Tenorio (5’8”), Calvin Abueva (6’3”), Jio Jalalon (5’9”), Carl Bryan Cruz (6’3”), and players who recently retired from international stints Jean Marc Pingris (6’4”),  Ranidel De Ocampo (6’7”), and Jimmy Alapag (5’7”).

There are many other players whose names did not appear herein but have contributed much to the success of Pilipinas Basketball. Of course, special thanks to the hardworking bench tacticians, notably National Coach and former Congressman Joseller “Yeng” Guiao and company, who made the much needed changes and capture the respect of this basketball-loving country.

And there’s bright future ahead with up-and-coming basketball stars in the making, whose height and skills are currently being developed to create that competitive edge that the country needs to make waves in the international basketball scene. Imagine how a newly formed group and at such a young age, these youngsters already made it to 4th place in the recently concluded 2018 FIBA-Asia Under-18 Championship. A talent-laden bunch, with 7’2” prodigy Kai Sotto heading the charge, turned heads around the world as they created havoc on the court against the vaunted Chinese and their European counterparts.


Kudos to all the players, coaches, sports organizations, and key individuals whose efforts are geared toward the common goal of making the country proud.

#TeamPilipinas
#Puso

Just Part of the Game is a commentary article that is centered on persons, facts and figures in the world wide of sports. Each blog published herein are thoroughly researched to give our readers the latest news and sports buzz that are locally and internationally trending in various sports programs. It also covers places of interest for sports enthusiasts.

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