MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino hoops community is still on a high following the twin wins over South Korea in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Pampanga last week.
Add Jimmy Alapag — Gilas' hero against the Koreans in 2013 — to the list of those in awe of the feat of today's all-cadet squad.
Speaking in Smart Sports' Hoops Life, Alapag commended the achievements of his successors in the national team.
"I've been following them for sure… It was impressive, man, considering the circumstances," said Alapag who sank a game-winning triple against the Koreans back in 2013 during the semifinals of the FIBA Asia Cup.
"This is like the new generation of Gilas. I'm really proud of the guys, you know, they played really well," he added.
Apart from ending an eight-year drought against the Koreans, the young Gilas guns proved that SJ Belangel's game-winner wasn't just a "lucky shot" when they nabbed their second win in as many tries.
While far from what the program wants to achieve in the long run, Alapag sees the impressive performance in the qualifiers as a crucial stepping stone to reaching new heights for the Gilas program.
"I think what they did, what happened this week, has really laid down the foundation of this new Gilas team," said Alapag.
"I think forward it gives them a huge amount of confidence, they just have to keep working," he added.
The Gilas wards are headed to Belgrade, Serbia tonight for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they will face off against the hosts and the Dominican Republic.
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