Panlilio wants winning culture

More than assembling a rock-solid squad, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas also wants Gilas Pilipinas to change its mindset and absorb a winning culture as it heads for the FIBA World Cup.

SBP president Al Panlilio said Gilas are now in a perfect position to leave their sorry past behind and embrace a winning mentality that will boost their campaign in the world’s most prestigious basketball event that the country will host from 25 August to 10 September next year.

Gilas will be facing Lebanon at the Nouhan Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut on 25 August before clashing with Saudi Arabia at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on 29 August in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

The end goal is next year, but along the way we want to continue winning and be competitive.

They will be marching with guns blazing as National Basketball Association standout Jordan Clarkson and rising star Kai Sotto will suit up, joining a very solid core of mainstays bannered by Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, Ray Parks and Carl Tamayo.

Although Lebanon will be very dangerous with FIBA Asia Cup Most Valuable Player Wael Arakji and naturalized player Jonathan Arledge at the helm, Panlilio wants Gilas to go all out and nail a very convincing victory that will trigger the adoption of a winning culture not only among the players, but also the team staff, the federation, stakeholders and fans as well.

“I think we always want to win every game, that’s why we’re bringing in the best talent that we can,” Panlilio said, adding the adopting a winning mentality this early will reflect on the team’s performance in the World Cup next year.

“Obviously, it also sets up the mentality of the players. The end goal is next year, but along the way we want to continue winning and be competitive.”
Clarkson and Sotto’s arrivals were undoubtedly the biggest boost for Gilas.

Clarkson, a serviceable swingman for Utah Jazz, is a proven winner as he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award and was a part of a solid playoff squad that was previously bannered by NBA stars Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley.

The 7-foot-3 Sotto, meanwhile, just re-signed with the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League in Australia with the hopes of becoming the first Filipino homegrown player to play in the NBA.

Although call-ups Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon begged off from Gilas duties, coach Chot Reyes and Panlilio are still banking on other Philippine Basketball Association talents in Scottie Thompson, Robert Bolick, Calvin Oftana and Raymond Almazan as well as newcomers in Jaime Malonzo, Roosevelt Adams and Arvin Tolentino.

Gilas also got a boost after Japeth Aguilar joined the training Sunday morning after getting cleared from Covid.

The Filipinos will have another training on Monday before flying for Beirut on Tuesday.

The SBP is set to announce the final 12-man roster in a special session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum today.

Panlilio said despite punching a ticket to the World Cup for being the co-hosts together with the Japanese and Indonesians, Gilas should still play as if their dear lives are on the line game in and game out.

“We wanna try our best. You’d like to see your kids trying their very best. Whether they win or not, as long as you know they’re trying their very best and giving it all,” Panlilio said.

“That’s the mindset that we want to have.”

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