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Euro coach for Gilas

Only the Americans — with their sheer talent and superb athleticism — can get away with them

The coach who could alter the fortunes of Philippine basketball is somewhere in Europe.

Yeah, you read it right.

He’s not one of those familiar names you often hear during discussions.

Most probably, he’s never been to the Philippines and his knowledge of the Filipino brand of play is limited, confined mostly to games they played against the Europeans in the not-so-distant past.

In short, the guy who has what it takes to elevate Philippine basketball doesn’t have traces of DNA linking him to the basketball-crazy archipelago.

He is not a fan of the crossover — unlike the Filipinos — and he abhors showmanship and flamboyance.

The only time he approves of a flashy play is during transition when one of his players succeeds in completing a fastbreak with ease.

Or during a set play when the opposing team gets caught napping after his players finds an open man who sinks a triple or a cutter who ends up leaving his defenders wide-eyed and too slow to react.

If ever local basketball officials realize that getting a foreign coach is the right way, everyone in Philippine basketball should also be on the same page about one thing.

Basketball has to be re-introduced in the country.

Sadly, nothing’s going to bear fruit in just three, four or even six years because excellence doesn’t happen overnight.

So in the meantime, forget about competing in the next FIBA World Cup unless of course several NBA players suddenly make the discovery that they — like Jordan Clarkson — trace their ancestors to the Philippines.

Kidding aside, for Philippine basketball to catch up with what the rest of the world is doing, players will have to forget about ankle-breakers and rim-rattlers.

Only the Americans — with their sheer talent and superb athleticism — can get away with them.

Instead, aspiring Filipino players in grassroots level have to be fed with videos of European teams in action so they end up moving like them: Superior shooters from the line, the perimeter and from beyond the arc and near-flawless in passing and finding the open man.

Again, if some foreign chap winds up getting signed to handle Gilas Pilipinas, he has to be given full support and authority to assemble a team of his liking.

A team that will exclusively play international-style ball for years to come and not a team that will have as members the stars of the pro league.

It’s going to be a long process, mind you.

But aren’t you tired of seeing Philippine basketball getting its heart broken all the time?

The thing is, would this kind of arrangement I am talking about be feasible in our country given the stakeholders and personalities involved?

I seriously doubt it.

And that’s the sad part.

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