SBP President Al Panlilio — PHILIPPINE STAR FILE PHOTO

AN APOLOGETIC Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) owned up to Gilas Pilipinas’ disastrous campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Vietnam and vowed to right the ship moving forward.

“We apologize we fell short and were not able to give our teams better support that they needed to retain the gold,” SBP president Alfredo “Al” S. Panlilio said as the federation broke its silence amid widespread criticism for the shocking Gilas fall in Hanoi.

“There are no excuses and we’ve learned valuable lessons. We will bounce back and reclaim our spot to stay ahead,” he added.

For the most immediate battles post-SEAG, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup Asian Qualifiers window next month and the FIBA Asia Cup in July, Gilas coach Chot Reyes said the plan is to tap the young guns led by Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena.

Ang team talaga natin will be comprised mostly of UAAP and NCAA players, together with Thirdy and Dwight. ‘Yung young core talaga natin, part of the developmental process for the 2023 FIBA World Cup,” Mr. Reyes said in the program ‘Wag Po on One PH.

Gilas will be on a redemption tour after relinquishing the SEAG throne to Indonesia, a first-time winner that harnessed its full potential under former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman and bannered by former NBA player Marques Bolden.

Mr. Reyes had taken full responsibility and accountability for the result that was a big let down to the basketball-crazy nation.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for us to lose in the SEA Games,” Mr. Reyes said.

The veteran tactician cited key factors that contributed to the downfall topped by lack of chemistry.

It also didn’t help that the likes of Mr. Ramos, Japeth Aguilar, Kevin Alas and Robert Bolick couldn’t make the trip for various reasons.

“But again, hindi ako nagpapalusot. Even with the lineup we had, we still could have won, beaten Indonesia, even with the great strategy of coach Rajko and all that. We still had our chances, so no excuses talaga diyan,” Mr. Reyes said.