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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Philippine Basketball Tour of New Zealand

Just recently, the Philippine national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, toured New Zealand as part of the preparation for the upcoming FIBA Asia Championship. The tour was also the replacement for the William Jones Cup after the host nation (Taiwan) “uninvited” the Philippines and prevented the national team from defending their title.

Anyway, the New Zealand tour was heavily over-hyped in the social and news media. Die-hard fans, fan boys, bandwagons and supporters should just calm down and hold on their panties. New Zealand’s national team is ranked 18th in the FIBA World Ranking and that only apply to the national team. Grassroots and college basketball programs here are nothing compare to the Philippines’ UAAP or NCAA. Most Kiwi players don’t have a proper college basketball background and no, New Zealand University Games where half of the players are drunk the night before their games doesn't count. Their NBA players only made it big time after they took their talent to the US NCAA.

The Philippine national team beating a semi-pro team in a small margin for two games even though it was coached by Tab Baldwin should've been a concern. Losing to an import-laden all-star was understandable and even the loss to the Wellington Saints. The trashing of the Super City Rangers was the one I’m delighted about. I don’t know why people even bother to celebrate and over hype the first two wins against the Hawke’s Bay team in the internet, a team from a struggling semi-pro league with teams going in-and-out of the competition every year due too lacked of financial support and poor fan base.

Anyway, the 76-77 loss to the newly formed and incomplete New Zealand Tall Blacks (missing the likes of Kirk Penney, recent NBA draftee Steven Adams and of course, New Zealand’s version of Japeth Aguilar - Thomas Abercrombie) was a good quality and competitive experience for the team. I'm not surprise why the Tall Blacks defeated the Gilas Pilipinas despite lack of preparations, simply because the Kiwis has a very deep understanding of the fundamentals of team basketball and shooting. Hopefully last year’s PBA Legends Tour of New Zealand and the recently concluded tour is just the beginning for some future international matches between the two countries.

The New Zealand Tall Blacks and the Gilas Pilipinas squads [source: Basketball New Zealand]

Here’s the international test results and encounter between the Philippines and the New Zealand Tall Blacks:
  • Philippines 73 - 55 New Zealand, 1981 R. William Jones Cup
  • New Zealand 67 - 37 Philippines, 2000 R. William Jones Cup
  • New Zealand 77 -76 Philippines, 2012 Philippines Tour of New Zealand   

P.S. The Philippines and New Zealand were suppose to face each other in the 1986 FIBA World Championship but the Philippines withdrew from the tournament with Malaysia as the replacement.

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