MANILA, Philippines – E-Gilas Pilipinas likes its chances to complete sweet revenge even against additional challengers in the Southeast Asian Conference of the FIBA Esports Open III starting tonight.
Bannered by an intact core, the confident Nationals test the mettle of newcomer Vietnam at 9 p.m. followed by a collision against Maldives at 9:40 p.m. to wrap up the Group 1 preliminaries.
Group 2 has Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia.
Only two squads from each group will advance to the semifinals Saturday with the survivors battling for all the marbles on Sunday.
“It’s more of redemption for the team. We want to dominate the region. We also want to show the world that Filipinos can go toe-to-toe against anyone in esports,” coach Nite Alparas told The STAR.
The Philippines swept Indonesia for the inaugural title last June but failed to defend the crown against Australia in the second edition last November despite topping the elimination round.
Egged on by that loss, the Nationals have been training the past few months for this third edition, the biggest so far with a total of 60 participating countries.
“Our chance of winning this time is much bigger than the last one. It’s payback time. Basta't para sa bayan, Laban Pilipinas,” added guard Rial Polog Jr.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio also threw solid support to e-Gilas, expressing confidence in the team’s capability to rise as Southeast Asia’s finest anew.
“I hope our Filipino basketball and Esports fans come out in support of our E-Gilas squad. Our team is eager to prove that we’re the best in the region and I’m sure they’ll make us proud,” he said.
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