Gilas Pilipinas’s first assignment in the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship will be Myanmar, a nation that will make its debut in the tournament.
The wards of head coach Chot Reyes will take on Myanmar at 7 p.m. at the start of the SEABA gig on May 12 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Myanmar, never a basketball country, participated in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Singapore and finished eight with 1-4 win-loss mark.
The country formerly known as Burma has an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) ranking of 92 while the Philippines is the highest ranked SEAG nation in FIBA at 27.
Indonesia and Singapore will open the hostilities on May 12 at 3 p.m. to be followed by the tussle of Malaysia and Thailand at 5 p.m., two nations along with Indonesia that are tipped to challenge the host nation for the coveted lone spot in the FIBA Asia Cup.
After Myanmar, Gilas 5 will face Singapore next on May 13 also at 7 p.m. Singapore that is starting to become an emerging nation in basketball in the region, is now under the guidance of Australian Frank Arsego. It grabbed the bronze medal in the previous SEAG.
Up next for Gilas are the Malaysians on May 14 at 7 p.m. Malaysia is the runner-up in the last two stagings of the SEABA tournament.
The Philippine quintet will take a break on May 15 and will have the dangerous Thailand as its next opponent on May 16 at 7 p.m. The Thais could be reinforced by Thai-American Tyler Lamb, who is seeing action with the Hong Kong Long Lions in the ASEAN Basketball League.
Gilas barely beat Thailand in the 2015 SEAG, 80-75, in the semifinals with PH 5 being represented by the cadets plus naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
Vietnam will be the host’s next foe on May 17 also at 7 p.m. The Vietnamese finished seventh in the last SEAG.
Gilas will round up its campaign with a game against Indonesia on May 18 at 7 p.m. Indonesia finished second to the Philippines in the 2015 SEAG, losing to the finals 64-72.
Only the champion in this year’s SEABA tourney will earn a spot in the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon on August 10 to 20.