"Just competing" phase is over for Gilas Pilipinas

Paul Lintag on Jul 27, 2017 08:18 PM
For every tournament the national team joins locally and in abroad, there's only one task at hand: win.

At his point in the time, the Philippines is totally over from the "just competing" phase when it comes to international tournaments.

For every tournament the national team joins locally and in abroad, there's only one task at hand: win.

And by win, it means win the whole thing.

That's why for the upcoming 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup, even if it has zero implications for the 2019 World Cup qualification process, Gilas Pilipinas will go after gold.

Considering the Philippines has won two straight silver medals in FIBA Asia, there's no other way to go. It's gold or bust.

"If not, why play? The fact that we're there, we're there to win," returning forward Gabe Norwood said on Gilas' mindset going to Lebanon.

"We're there not just to compete anymore, I think that's out the window," he added.

With 10 years of national team experience under his belt, Norwood certainly knows what he's talking about when it comes to "just competing."

In his first tour of duty with the Philippines, with Chot Reyes in charge, the country failed to make it past group play, finishing 9th during the 2007 FIBA-Asia Championships in Japan.

Two years later, the Philippines did manage to get out of group stage only to lose to Jordan in the quarterfinals. The 2009 Powerade team ended up with a disappointing 8th place finish.

Things turned around when the Gilas program was established and Norwood has been playing for the senior team since 2013.

The Gilas initiative has resulted in back-to-back FIBA-Asia silver medals for the Philippines on top of a World Cup appearance.

So yeah, the Philippines, despite an ongoing youth movement, is way past the "just competing" phase.

"That competing stuff, we passed that. We're out there to win," Norwood said.



Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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