MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines opens its campaign for an 18th gold medal in basketball when it takes on Singapore on Wednesday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
Rosters for the basketball competition of the 30th Southeast Asian Games were finalized in a managers' meeting on Tuesday. Eight teams are competing in the men's division, while four teams will battle in the women's side.
Gilas Pilipinas was drawn with Vietnam, Myanmar, and Singapore in Group A, while Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia are in Group B.
The Filipinos, who have won men's basketball gold 17 times, will be massive favorites against Singapore but head coach Tim Cone is not taking his chances. They have already scouted the Singaporeans and are well-prepared for Wednesday's match-up.
"That team runs the floor and finishes very, very well. So you know, we had to make sure we're doing certain things well," Cone said a week ahead of the SEA Games.
"And if we're doing those well, we think we can handle them. They're not that deep. They go about five, six guys deep, maybe seven," he added. "And obviously, we're gonna be 12-deep."
Suiting up for Cone is a veteran squad composed of PBA players, anchored by five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel and the core of his Barangay Ginebra team, including LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, and Greg Slaughter, the 7-foot slotman who was a late replacement for the injured Roger Pogoy.
Meanwhile, the Philippine women's team is also out to get a breakthrough gold medal in basketball. They will be up against Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, with the team with the best record winning the gold.
Making up the Gilas women are Ana Alicia Katrina Castillo, Afril Bernardino, Maria Beatrice Daez, France Mae Cabinbin, Janine Pontejos, Ria Joy Nabalan, Jack Danielle Animam, Eunique Chan, Marizze Andrea Tongco, Danica Therese Jose and Kelli Casey Hayes.
Gilas women’s coach Patrick Aquino is also set to finalize his lineup due to an injury suffered by Gemma Miranda.
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