Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 2.0?

Paul Kennedy Lintag on Apr 09, 2020 02:55 PM
Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 2.0?
Is the sequel better than the original? Where do you put Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 among the greatest Philippine national teams ever? (Photo by Josh Albelda)

Since program’s inception, Gilas Pilipinas has been the name associated with the Philippine men’s basketball team. It gave the national team the identity it has used for a decade already.

Gilas has gone through many iterations, but the current lineup, regardless of who the players are, only go by the general “Gilas” term.

But early in the program’s history, each team went by a specific number, unofficially used by pretty much everyone to distinguish the teams that competed in different tournaments.

It made sense too, since each team had a completely different identity. In later years, Gilas has improved in using the program as a way to ensure national basketball continuity.

Nevertheless, each of the earlier Gilas versions had their success and failures. Here’s what happened to each of them.

 


Whatever happened to Gilas 2.0?

Main tournament: 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships @ Manila, Philippines

Prize: 3 tickets to the 2014 FIBA World Cup

Result: Silver medal + World Cup berth (beat South Korea in semis, lost to Iran in gold medal game)


Head coach: Chot Reyes

Gilas 2.0 was the second time Chot Reyes handled the Philippine national team. The first time he did it, Coach Chot’s squad only managed 9th in the 2007 FIBA-Asia Championships in Japan.

Six years later in Manila, Reyes is back at it again, and with some players from his 2007 team joining him too.

Gilas’ silver-medal finish in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships and ensuing FIBA World Cup appearance in 2014 is Coach Chot’s best run as national team coach. Reyes would return to coach the national team in late 2016 before resigning for good in 2018.


The Players:

#4 Jimmy Alapag

Alapag is back for a second straight stint with Gilas Pilipinas and this is the team where Jimmy carves out his legacy as one of the best national team players ever.

In the semifinals against long-time nemesis South Korea, Alapag would hit the biggest shot in program history, pushing the Philippines to its first World Cup appearance in years.

[Related: FIBA: Mighty Jimmy and the shot that introduced Gilas to the World]

Once in the World Cup, Jimmy would once again hit the big shot to give Gilas its first World Cup win in four decades with an overtime decision against Senegal.

Jimmy has since retired twice from basketball. He won the ABL title as head coach for San Miguel-Alab Pilipinas in the 2018 season.


#5 LA Tenorio

Tenorio already gave a glimpse of what he can do in the national team one-year prior, leading Gilas Pilipinas to the Jones Cup championship while winning MVP honors.

In his first Gilas experience, LA started most games at point guard and was the Philippines’ best two-way option at the position.

Together with Alapag and Jayson Castro, Tenorio formed perhaps the best point guard rotation in program history. After Gilas 2.0, it would be years for LA to make it back to Gilas, but once he did, he got a 2019 SEA Games gold medal to show for it.

Tenorio just won another title with Barangay Ginebra, their fourth since 2016.


#6 Jeff Chan

Gilas 2.0 was flanked by shooters all over and the best one in Manila was Jeff Chan without a doubt.

It’s not like Chan was a complete unknown when he was selected to Gilas, he did win Finals MVP for Rain or Shine in 2012. However, Chan wasn’t exactly tested when it comes to national team play.

He got tested, and he passed with flying colors. Chan was the best shooter for Gilas both in total 3-point field goals made and percentage, shooting an insane 47.6 percent from deep.

Chan won another title with ROS in 2016, before he was moved to Phoenix and eventually, Ginebra. 


#7 Jayson Castro

Gilas 2.0 was Jayson Castro’s coming out party for the Philippine national team.

Sharing minutes with Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio, Castro was the weapon unleashed by Gilas when the going got tough. And as the tournament got deeper, it got more and more evident that The Blur was the national team’s best local.

After the tournament, Castro was named in the All-Star team, and his reign as the best point guard in Asia also started his journey as a Gilas legend. While he’s already retired twice from Gilas, we’ll believe Castro is done when he doesn’t actually play.


#8 Gary David

Even as the PBA’s best scorer at the time, Gary David readily accepted his diminished role with Gilas 2.0.

Out of all players, David finished second to last in scoring, beating out only June Mar Fajardo, who played seven games and only saw 31 minutes of total court action.

Nevertheless, David was a key piece that made the Gilas 2.0 machine work, his explosive performance in the quarterfinals against Kazakhstan set up the South Korea game quite nicely too. Post-PBA, Gary David is seeing action in the MPBL, even being crowned as the league’s 3-point king in 2019.


#9 Ranidel De Ocampo

RDO was even better in Gilas 2.0 than he was in the original Gilas.

Much like Castro, De Ocampo was a reliable weapon for coach Chot’s national team, his outside shooting ultimately proving crucial for Gilas.

Ranidel was behind only Chan in 3-point field goals made and percentage for Gilas, he also hit the forgotten triple that help bury South Korea in the semifinals. RDO is technically still not retired, but injuries have forced him to slow way down in his later years in the PBA as a Meralco Bolt.


#10 Gabe Norwood

Norwood was one of the players from Coach Chot’s 2007 Philippine team that was present for Gilas 2.0 in Manila.

Gabe didn’t do much scoring, but he played the most minutes out of everyone and was easily Gilas Pilipinas’ best defender all tournament long.

Norwood’s clutch block on Kim Min-goo helped secure Gilas’ win over South Korea in the semifinals. Gabe is one of the longest-tenured players not just in the Gilas program but in Philippine national team history. In 2019, he made the World Cup for the second straight time.


#11 Marcus Douthit

Douthit was back for Gilas 2.0 and while his production was lowered compared to the original Gilas, he was still the rock and foundation of the national team.

[Related: Whatever happened to Gilas Pilipinas 1.0?]

Kuya Marcus’ stint ended early, as his tournament essentially ended before halftime of the semifinals of the game against South Korea due to injury, forcing Gilas to go true All-Filipino the rest of the way.

Much like in Gilas 1.0, Douthit led Gilas in scoring and rebounding with 11.9 points and 9.4 rebounds.


#12 Larry Fonacier

The second designated shooter for the national team in 2013, Larry Fonacier was the classic 3-and-D player for Gilas 2.0.

Gilas 2.0 was Fonacier’s only Gilas stint, and winning a silver medal is not a bad result for being one-and-done. 

After Gilas 2.0, Larry would continue to play for TNT for a couple more seasons, before moving on to join the NLEX Road Warriors as one of the team’s veterans.


#13 June Mar Fajardo

June Mar Fajardo was a very raw prospect when Gilas 2.0 won silver in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships.

The future six-time PBA MVP only played in seven games and scored a grand total of three points. Nevertheless, Fajardo was a completely different player following his stint with Gilas 2.0.

After he came out of his initial stint with the national team, Fajardo proceeded to dominate the PBA for half a decade and counting, and his consistent Gilas stints in the future also slowly helped him be a consistent contributor in international play.

For all intents and purposes, Fajardo could still be a key piece with the country co-hosts the 2023 World Cup, 10 years after Gilas 2.0.


#14 Japeth Aguilar

While still limited, Japeth was an improved version of himself by the time he played for Gilas 2.0. 

He was the explosive reliever for the frontline, and was a crucial part of the rotation when Douthit suffered an injury during the South Korea game.

Just like Norwood, Japeth has reached the 10-year mark in service of Gilas Pilipinas program and the national team as a whole, and Gilas 2.0 was just one of his many stops.


#15 Marc Pingris

The heart and soul of Gilas 2.0, Marc Pingris personified the national team’s famous battle cry.

Gilas 2.0’s emotional leader, Ping had his teammates dig deep when they faced the greatest adversity of their World Cup bid in the semifinals against South Korea that eventually led to an iconic breakthrough.

While his numbers won’t wow anyone, Ping’s leadership and influence in the national team resonates to this day, and it all started in Gilas 2.0.

 

Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 

 

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