1978, the last time the Philippines men’s basketball team qualified for the FIBA World Cup where we finished a respectable 8th place among the greatest basketball teams at that time. 36 years after, we secured another chance to compete for the world cup after finishing second in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship to capture the silver medal.

As a host nation for the 2013 FIBA Asia championship, we are automatically qualified for the event and luckily to be bracketed with Group A with nations Chinese Taipei, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Group C had the death bracket as they were stacked with Iran, South Korea, China, and Malaysia where the first two nations eventually won the Gold and Bronze medal respectively.

The Odd nation out for the FIBA Asia Championship was China who were perennial qualifiers for the international basketball leagues like Olympics and FIBA World Cups because of Yao Ming and other NBA players from China. If China was bracketed away from Iran and South Korea, our chances of qualifying for the World Cup could gone slim to none. But fortunately, we were the host country and having home crowd advantage was huge especially during elimination and the final rounds.

And we qualified for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, by winning the quarter-finals and the semi-finals over Kazakhstan and South Korea respectively, before facing the Iran in the Finals. We lost and gathered the Silver Medal which is enough to be qualified for the world cup.

The Gilas Pilipinas roster from the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship were:

*Head Coach Chot Reyes
Jimmy Alapag
LA Tenorio
Jeff Chan
Jayson William
Gary David
Ranidel De Ocampo
Gabe Norwood
Marcus Douthit
Larry Fonacier
June Mar Fajardo
Japeth Aguilar
Marc Pingris

On August 18, 2014, the Philippines assembled the Gilas Pilipinas final 12-man roster to dispatch for the 2014 FIBA World Cup:

*Head Coach Chot Reyes
Jimmy Alapag
LA Tenorio
Jeff Chan
Jayson Castro William
Gary David
Ranidel De Ocampo
Gabe Norwood
Andray Blatche
June Mar Fajardo
Paul Dalistan Lee
Japeth Aguilar
Marc Pingris

There were two players were exchanged because of some reasons,

1) Andray Blatche for Marcus Douthit – the FIBA only allowed one naturalized player per nation and it was evident that Blatche was more dominant and skilled over Douthit and because of some injury concerns to play for the event in time. The Philippines also have a choice to pick Javale McGee but they thought they need more skill to compete internationally especially with NBA players.

2) Paul Dalistan Lee for Larry Fonacier – injury concerns for Fonacier and his time table to get back in shape before the world cup. Paul Lee was also a streaky shooter but his height and position was not advantageous for the situation of the roster as they already have 3 point guards that will push Lee to play the combo guard and shooting guard for the Philippines. They may opt to choose for a forward/center who has a capability to shoot threes and defend multiple positions like Arwind Santos or Jay Washington.

Then we were in the World Cup bracketed with Group B with nations Greece, Croatia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Senegal. The first three power house teams consisting of NBA caliber players as well as Eurobasket players who confidently can compete with other great players in the NBA. And it also translated when we played against them where they took over in the last minutes of the game where we just 3 points against them (Argentina and Croatia) and we also lost 4 points against Puerto Rico. The only team that dominated us was the Greece with 12-point margin lost and eventually they lead the bracket with 5-0.

The only team we beat at that time was Senegal, and it was in Overtime with just 2-points margin win for the last game of Gilas Pilipinas team. Senegal was qualified for the World Cup playoffs because of having 2-3 within the preliminary rounds winning over Croatia and Puerto Rico. We are that close to qualify for the Round of 16 playoffs if we just learned how to finish games in clutch moments. We finished 21st overall out of 24 countries which competed for the FIBA World Cup 2014.

Because of undying and unconditional support from the Filipino fans watching in Spain, we received a special reward for the Philippines as MVF Best Country (on Fan support throughout the tournament). Truly the Overseas Filipino Fans are thrilled to watch their mother country compete in the world of basketball.

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