Migs Pascual and Geo Chiu were two of the key players of the Batang Gilas team that went on to win the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Under-16 Championship in 2017 and made it all the way as far as the World Cup several years ago when the team was then being led by Kai Sotto, who previously played in the National Basketball Association for the Orlando Magic.
Pascual and Chiu felt proud that their successors had been able to continue the dominance of the Batang Gilas Pilipinas team in the SEABA tournament, an event the Philippines has dominated in its last five editions.
“I think the future is bright for them,” said Pascual, former co-captain of the Batang Gilas team and will undergo residency status in the coming season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association for San Sebastian.
Pascual added that he followed the games of the Batang Gilas on social media and wasn’t surprised to see the team dominating its three opponents in the tournament on its way to sweeping the event.
“I’m not surprised because they have a very good system,” added Pascual. “With Coach Josh (Reyes), I think they’re in good hands and he’s being helped out by champion coaches in the high school tournaments like Coach Allan Albano (Far Eastern University) and Coach Allen Ricardo (Letran). Of course, they also have Rob Labagala, who’s a very good skills coach.”
Chiu, who also played for the Gilas Pilipinas team two years ago when the squad was still being handled by Tab Baldwin, could only agree with Pascual’s observation.
“I think with the right system, they were able to get the job done, even though they didn’t have much time preparing,” said Chiu. “But I see this team capable of going all the way to the World Cup. They’re a very balanced team, a very talented one as well.”
Leading the way for Batang Gilas is second generation cager Kieffer Alas, son of multi-titled coach Louie, and youngest brother of current Philippine Basketball Association star Kevin of NLEX.
A first time participant in the national team, Alas made his country and his family proud by ending up as a champion in the SEABA.
Alas emerged as the most consistent performer in the SEABA Under-16 Men’s Championship, leading the team in scoring honors in the three games of the young Filipino cagers en route to winning championship.
In the team’s first game, he ended up with 27 points, 22 of them happened in the first half as the Filipinos clobbered Malaysia, 94-52.
He followed it up with an 18-point performance in his team’s 85-49 victory over Thailand to ensure the Philippines a guaranteed seat in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship.
Alas capped his big performance in the SEABA Championship with a double-double showing on the final day of competitions. His stats line were so impressive – 19 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks – and led the Filipinos’ 77-65 victory over host team Indonesia.
Aside from Alas, other players who were able to step up big were guard Irus Chua, CJ Amos, Joaquin Ludovice, Kurt Velasquez, and Elijah Williams.