Having the Philippines involved in the competition always seems to lend a little extra interest to basketball games wherever they are played. With Gilas returning to compete for their first championship in 37 years at Asia Cup 2022, we’ll be able to see if that’s the case.
In this episode of “Meet the Teams,” allow us to take a moment to introduce the Philippines.
World Rank according to FIBA World Ranking is 34
The Philippines have clung tenaciously to their sixth-place ranking among Asia & Oceania teams while attempting to eventually catch up with Korea (and, preferably, pass them).
They started the Asia Cup Qualifiers in the 31st position in the Ranking, thus there has been a minor decline since then, but a successful showing in Jakarta should help them move back up the rankings.
Asia Cup Debut: 1960
How many national teams can boast that they not only participated in the inaugural Asia Cup but also served as its host? That is a trick question, and there is only one obvious response: the Philippines.
How many national teams were able to host and triumph in their first Asia Cup might be a better query. The Philippines continues to be the sole solution (though Australia is the second team to ever win in their Asia Cup debut).
Appearances in Asia Cup (including 2022): 28
The Philippines has participated in every Asia Cup except for two. The Gilas has now appeared in the Asia Cup seven times in a row due to their absence in 2005. Also, don’t anticipate the run to end soon.
Best Finish: Champions (1960, 1963, 1967, 1973, 1985)
With five total Asia Cup victories, the Philippines are the nation with the second-highest total. They remain just one of three national teams that can do so after winning the first two Asia Cups. The Philippines never placed lower than third in the first seven Asia Cups, thus the early going was spectacular.
The Philippines has only been successful in winning the Asia Cup once since 1973. In 2013 and 2015, they came very near to fulfilling their prophecy once more, but the sixth Asia Cup has remained a bit out of reach.
Player to Watch: Jimmy Alapag
The Philippines have a long basketball history as a result of being a basketball-crazed country. Alapag is a name that has had the biggest influence on Philippines basketball in the Asia Cup.
Jimmy “The Mighty Mouse” Alapag participated in three Asia Cups. He will always be remembered for blocking “The Shot” in the 2013 Asia Cup Semifinals. You will be given that kind of credit if you make a game-winning three-pointer. That, too, late on to defeat one of the national team’s most challenging opponents in history and qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
Journey to Asia Cup
The Philippines went undefeated in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, but that undersells just how impressive they were. In addition to dominating Thailand and Indonesia, the Gilas were able to defeat the skilled Korean national team twice. The Philippines fielded a team for each window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers with the intention of developing for the future. And based on how they performed, it appears that plan has been successfully implemented.