by Brian Yalung
Faced with the inevitable task of needing to win at least twice, Gilas Pilipinas will have its work cut out for them when they see action at the FIBA World Cup set from Aug. 31 to Sept.15 in China.
The Philippine national team finds itself in Group D alongside Serbia, Italy, and Angola. Compared to 2014 where Gilas was bracketed with three top 10 teams (Croatia, Greece, and Argentina), there are some who believe that the country has better chances this time around. One of them is Beau Belga of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters who also got his chance to suit up for the PH quintet on several occasions.
“Kaya naman kung talagang gugustuhin. Kasi wala namang imposible. National team na dala mo. Lahat naman pag national team na, ilalabas mo na lahat,” said Belga recently after the Elasto Painters guested at TOPS Usapang Sports at the National Press Club in Manila.
One player many are hoping to get the green light is Jordan Clarkson. The NBA star saw action for the Philippines in the last Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is trying to work things out to have the 26-year-old play in the World Cup. The SBP is still awaiting the decision of FIBA. Belga believes having Clarkson would give Gilas a big boost of confidence.
“Boost of confidence din yon. It’s going to be good for the team if you have Andray (Blatche), Jordan (Clarkson) and Jayson (Castro) tapos some of the guys in the national team. Talagang bubuhos lahat. So magiging maganda,” said the Rain or Shine center.
Belga also shares the same sentiments made by former national team coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes on the chances of Gilas this coming August. Of the three teams in the group, he feels that the national team have a good chance of defeating Angola and Italy.
“I would say yung Angola and Italy. Kasi yung Serbia, mahirap talunin because of their experience sa world (stage). Talagang kaya nilang mag top four sa world,” Belga concluded.
The ardent task of defeating Serbia actually got even harder with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets confirming that he will be joining the national team in China this August in a report from FIBA.com.
“A crown of this amazing season for me would be a World Cup medal for which I’m sure that Serbia can win and I am fully ready to contribute in achieving of that goal.”