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From its successful title romp in the recent SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) tournament in Malaysia, members of Perlas Pilipinas, this early, are setting their sights on bigger goals.
“The target now is the Southeast Asian Games. If we win the gold in the SEA Games, then it will be our ticket to the Asian Games,” said head coach Patrick Aquino during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
The 2017 SEA Games will take place next August in Malaysia to be followed by the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
Perlas Pilipinas, fully supported by Blackwater of Dioseldo Sy, swept all its six matches in the SEABA tournament, including matches against reigning SEA Games champion Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Aquino said the victory is a clear indication that Perlas Pilipinas will be in contention when the next SEA Games takes place in Malaysia.
But to make things happen, Aquino said the team would need reinforcement from perhaps a couple of Fil-foreign players or a naturalized player.
Aquino said he will leave for the United States in December and is hoping to hook up with players with Filipino blood and are willing to represent the country in international competitions.
“We need tall players so we can match up especially in the Asian level where Japan is now the number one team. But if you look at China, it has players as tall as 6’7” or 6’8” or forwards at 6’4” and guards standing six feet,” he said in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Aquino said in the Asian level, the Philippines may rank fifth or sixth so the target is to get to the top four and keep the games close.
If he could have his way, he would keep the core of the team that won the SEABA crown.
“This is our team. This is the core. We have the talent. We have players who impressed the foreign coaches. But what I really liked about this team was the way they played together,” said Aquino.