After a disappointing 4th place finish in the recently concluded 22nd FIBA Asia Champions Cup wherein Lebano reigned supreme against Iran in the finals, the Smart Gilas Team Pilipinas is now looking to get a slot in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China if they will win in the 2011 29th SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) Men's Basketball Championship tourney.
The SEABA will start of June 23 up to June 26 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Last year we won the SEABA tournament and we'll be defending our title against our South East Asian friends. 10 teams will compete in this 4-day tournament. Malaysia, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Laos.
Hardcore Smart Gilas fans are saying that they should've entered a stronger and bigger league because it's very clear that the Philippines will win the SEABA tournament because they have weaker opponents. Sorry to say guys but Smart Gilas can't go away with this tournament because it is only the key if they want to enter the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.
Smart Gilas' team manager, the hard working coach of San Beda, Frankie Lim said:
“The SEABA Men’s Championship in Jakarta late this month will be our main focus. They’ve performed well in the Champions Cup, considered as the strongest club tournament in the region. It was a good competition for Smart Gilas, we had good games with Iran and Qatar and almost made it to the finals. This was a good preparation and experience for the team, the opposition pushed us to the limit and we finally got to play complete and showed fighting heart."It's very clear that they have their eyes on the bigger prize, a chance to be in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship. Smart Gilas' first game on June 23 will be against Malaysia. The former JRU Heavy Bomber head coach, Ariel Vanguardia will coach Malaysia. Incidentally, he's a Filipino. That's how famous the Filipinos are in the world of Asian Basketball. In their second game on June 24, they will face Indonesia and on their third game on June 25 they will face Singapore.
The finals is schedule to be on June 26. The top 3 teams after the eliminations will advance on the "Wuhan Meet" which will also serve as a point system qualifier for the much anticipated 2012 London Olympics. The 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China is also a qualifying tournament for the 2012 London Olympics.