Gilas Pilipinas is still about to complete its campaign in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Saudi Arabia this Monday, but the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is already bracing for its matches at the Philippine Arena in February next year.
Not only is the SBP anticipating the biggest turnout for the last window event, but it also wants to make a good impression in the event that will likewise serve as a dry run for the hosting of the World Cup.
The Philippine Arena was able to stage the biggest crowd ever in a Philippine Basketball Association game when Barangay Ginebra San Miguel battled Meralco in Game 7 of the 2017 Governors’ Cup finals series with 54,000-plus in attendance.
Naturalization of long-time Ginebra import Justin Brownlee is now being fast track by the SBP and it is getting solid support both from the Congress and the Senate.
In the Congress, 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero has reaffirmed interest on Brownlee while Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, a long-time Ginebra fan, vowed to bring up to speed his naturalization.
If Brownlee and the Kings can draw a huge crowd at the Philippine Arena, what more the Gilas squad when national interest is at stake?
Sad to say, there’s only one sport that matters in the country and that’s basketball to the point that it is treated like a religion. Discussions about basketball has been a never ending debate.
The SBP is confident that it can attract the biggest audience since the FIBA windows started and this will be a great kick off for the Philippines’ hosting of the World Cup.
The home games against a new bitter Asian rival Lebanon, and Jordan, which Gilas just defeated in the fifth window recently, will be a fitting culmination for the final window and Gilas don’t want to let our basketball-crazy fans down.
Filipinos based in Jordan were given limited allocated seats, but that didn’t stop them from cheering our national team no end.
When the Philippines plays Lebanon in February, our national team will utilize its Sixth Man — the crowd — that is ready to erupt.
There will be no Jordan Clarkson, but there is high hopes to bring in Brownlee.
There’s unfinished business for Gilas to get back at their previous tormentors who dealt them a heartbreaking loss at their den.
Now, the Filipinos will have a chance for a payback at their own lair.
A huge turnout, a chance for Gilas to get back at Lebanon and our ability to showcase our world-class hosting skills will be in store.
Overall, this will be a good test ahead of the World Cup.