6 Reasons Why Gilas Pilipinas Games Are Must-Watch For Everyone

Gilas Pilipinas Games Must-Watch
The 12-man powerhouse team of Gilas Pilipinas at the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. Photo Credits: Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas

Good News Pilipinas gives you 6 Reasons Why Gilas Pilipinas Games are a Must-Watch this basketball season, featuring the 12-man lineup carrying the Philippine flag through the 2022 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

The Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Basketball Team for the 4th window of the FIBA Asian Qualifiers is all set to play in front of Filipinos on Monday, August 29, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Manila.

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This basketball-crazy nation will be joined by worldwide audiences in watching the talented Philippine squad play on the homecourt led by an American National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar, an Australian Basketball League (ABL) star import, Japan Basketball League pioneering imports, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) standouts, University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) champions, and new faces of the Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Basketball Team.

Good News Pilipinas lists 6 reasons – especially for others not yet convinced – to keep watching the Gilas Pilipinas games:

1 Jordan Clarkson is back

Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson won his first Sixth Man of the Year award. Photo from Jordan Clarkson FB.

NBA superstar Jordan Clarkson is joining Gilas Pilipinas as a naturalized player. Clarkson, whose mother is Filipina, is a dual citizen of the Philippines and the United States. He first donned the Gilas Pilipinas jersey at the 2018 Asian Games, scoring 26 points on average per game to help his country finish fifth, its highest placing in 16 years.

Clarkson is anticipated to drastically enhance the game of the Gilas Men’s Basketball squad which now carries a record of 2 wins-3 losses in the qualifications after the fiercely fought battle with powerhouse Lebanon last Friday, August 26. Clarkson’s FIBA debut was marked by topping all scorers with 27 points. He also delivered 7 assists and 6 rebounds.

Clarkson won the 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award and has played a crucial role as the shooting guard for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, a team that often makes the playoffs. He averages 15.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in his NBA career.

The addition of NBA superstar Jordan Clarkson to Gilas Pilipinas is certainly the much-needed positive news that local basketball fans want to hear.

WATCH Jordan Clarkson at play with the Gilas Pilipinas squad here:

2 Kai Sotto returns to duty

Filipino star basketball player Kai Sotto is playing good ball games in the Australian NBL. Adelaide 36ers photo.

Kai Sotto is the towering 20-year-old basketball prodigy from the Philippines who has been campaigning to be the first homegrown Filipino player in the NBA.

The 7’3” center previously joined the NBA G-League but found time to fly home and join Gilas Pilipinas games in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Sotto currently plays for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia and again found time to fly back home as he continues his sworn duty to play for the Philippine national team.

The former Ateneo Blue Eagles Junior UAAP MVP contributed 10 points and eight rebounds against Lebanon.

WATCH Kai Sotto and Jordan Clarkson play good basketball here:

3 PBA standouts

PBA standout players from Barangay Ginebra San Miguel power forward Japeth Aguilar and shooting guard Scottie Thompson, along with forward Calvin Oftana of NLEX are suiting up once again for Gilas Pilipinas.

Japeth Aguilar has been playing for Gilas Pilipinas since 2009. He was a member of the gold medal-winning team of the 2017 SEABA Championship and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Scottie Thompson was a member of the gold medalist 12-man Sinag Pilipinas team that competed in the 2015 SEABA Championship and the Southeast Asian Game which were held in Singapore.

Calvin Oftana played for the national squad against Thailand in 2020. He finished that game with 9 points on 3-of-5 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.

4 Japan B. League’s Filipino imports

 

The Filipino imports in the land of the rising sun are playing once again for the Child of the Sun Returning.

Local basketball standouts Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Thirdy Ravena, and Kiefer Ravena are seeing action again on the homecourt for Gilas Pilipinas.

FIBA Breakout Star Dwight Ramos, formerly of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ championship team, joined the Japan B. League’s Toyama Grouses for the 2021-22 season and will next play for the Levanga Hokkaido in the 2022-23 JBL season.

Since 2018, Ramos has been eyed to join the Philippine national team designed for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He made his debut for the country in February 2020, participating in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifying game against Indonesia.

In the Gilas game against Lebanon, Dwight Ramos supported the Jordan Clarkson-led squad with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 steals.

Bobby Ray Parks Jr., formerly of the National University Bulldogs, joined the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins of the Japanese B. League in 2021 and will continue to play with the team for at least another year.

ASEAN League Top 10 Parks represented the Gilas Cadets in 2015 in the Southeast Asian Games and SEABA championships. Additionally, he represented Gilas Pilipinas in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.

Parks was a member of the Philippine squad that competed at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. They defeated Indonesia 94-55 to win the gold medal, giving him his third gold medal in the SEA Games.

Five years later, Parks rejoined the national squad for the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup which finished its run in the quarterfinals.

Parks played for over 5 minutes in the Gilas match against Lebanon.

Thirdy Ravena, the three-time MVP of the Ateneo Blue Eagles championship team, is the first-ever Asian import to the Japanese league. He signed up with San-en NeoPhoenix in 2020 to play professional basketball in Japan.

Thirdy played for the Philippine national team at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers. He was part of the Gilas Pilipinas lineup in with an undefeated run in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers after trouncing Indonesia in the third and final window of the tournament.

Thirdy’s older brother, Kiefer Ravena, was a member of the Sinag Pilipinas squad that competed in the 2011 SEA Games and defeated Thailand to earn the gold medal.

Kiefer was selected as the Gilas Cadets’ 2015 team captain, competing alongside Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., Kevin Ferrer, and Marcus Douthit, among others, at the SEABA Championship in Singapore. They won all of their games and took home the gold medal in that competition.

Ravena was selected to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Chinese Taipei and Japan. He was picked again to take part in the 2018 matches against Japan and Australia. He was again selected for the national squad that would represent the Philippines at the 2019 SEA Games, where he earned his fifth consecutive gold medal.

The Ravena brothers both played in the Ateneo Blue Eagles, in the Japan B-league, and until now in Gilas Pilipinas.

5 UP Championship standout Carl Tamayo

Carl Tamayo was part of the fabled University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball championship team which finally dethroned UAAP Kings Ateneo Blue Eagles in the most recent UAAP Season 84.

Tamayo made his Gilas seniors debut in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers match against Korea. He led Gilas to victory with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Tamayo returned to Gilas duty in the previous third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers match against New Zealand where he recorded a game-high 16 points, along with five rebounds and four turnovers.

Tamayo was among the team’s top scorers and rebounders in the FIBA Asia Cup 2022.

Tamayo competed in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in 2019. His greatest performance was a 20-point, six rebound performance in a victory against China. Also in 2019, he competed for the Philippines in the FIBA 3×3 U-18 Asia Cup.

6 Gilas’ New Faces

Jamie Malonzo of NorthPort and Chris Newsome of Meralco are both first-time players for Gilas Pilipinas.

Filipino-American Jamie Malonzo was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and traces his roots in Batangas. Malonzo, born in the United States to a Filipino mother and an African-American father, had never visited the Philippines before being invited by the La Salle Green Archers to participate in a one-and-done season of the UAAP.

The Meralco Bolts selected Chris Newsome as the fourth overall pick in the 2015 PBA draft, where he reunited with his collegiate coach Norman Black.

Newsome won the gold medal while representing the Philippines in the 3×3 competition at the Southeast Asian Games.

BONUS: Home Court Advantage

The fact that the Philippines’ next match will take place on the homecourt is an advantage for Gilas Pilipinas who will play with the loud-and-proud 6th-man-like Filipino basketball fans cheering around the arena.

The Philippines versus the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be held in the SM MOA Arena in Pasay City at 7 PM on August 29, Monday. Mobile viewers can also watch Gilas Pilipinas play live via OneSports, Cignal Play app, and Smart GigaPlay app. TV5 delayed telecast is 11:15 PM.

The Philippines is also one of the host nations for the FIBA 2023 World Cup, together with Japan and Indonesia, allowing basketball fans and Filipinos to watch the world’s largest basketball event on home territory.

LabanPilipinas

As Filipinos always say, “Laban Pilipinas”! This is not only a battle of Gilas Pilipinas but also a battle for the entire Philippines.

SHARE THIS LIST to encourage others to watch the Gilas Pilipinas games and see the talented players of the Philippine National Team!

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EJ is a BA Communication Arts student who hopes to become a great film maker or a good editorial writer one day. Writing for him is a way to share a story that will connect with every reader to whom he can provide lessons and inspirations. He is a smile campaign advocate and aims to see everyone in good spirits. His life motto is - Keep Smiling.