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No hard feelings: SBP assures Gilas not disheartened with Duterte remarks

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Nothing can dampen Gilas Pilipinas’ fighting spirit in the 2019 Fiba World Cup. Not even doubts cast by President Duterte, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said.

“Our Gilas Pilipinas men’s team knows exactly how daunting the task ahead is. We will be going up against some of the best teams in the world which will be showcasing NBA talents in their squads,” said Panlilio in an official statement.

“Still, we will be heading into every game believing we can compete.”

This was in reference to the President’s statement that the Philippine national squad doesn’t stand a chance against Italy when it opens its world championship bid in Foshan, China on August 31.

After Italy, the national will next take on No. 4 Serbia followed by Angola.

While the President made no mention of Serbia, he did make a favorable forecast for the game against Angola.

National team coach Yeng Guiao said the team doesn’t take the President’s statement against him, and would rather take it as a challenge.

Panlilio said the SBP also takes the same stand and doesn’t hold any grudge against the President, who is expected to show support to Gilas during the World Cup, when he visits China later this month.

“Our players and coaching staff are working hard in Spain right now and we believe all of their sacrifice will bear fruit and make our fellow Filipinos proud with their performance in the FIBA World Cup,” said Panlilio.