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Panlilio: Gilas win in SEABA is a must

The country will once again be in the forefront of regional sports when it hosts the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship on May 12-18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The SEABA will serve as the qualifier to the FIBA Asia Cup set Aug. 10-20 in Lebanon, with the top 14 teams vying for spots to the 2019 World Cup in China via the new FIBA home-and-away format in November .

No less than Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio underscored the importance of the SEABA during a media conference  held on Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Manila Galleria in Pasig City.

 “It’s a long journey for us,” said Panlilio. “We have to win it (SEABA), no ifs and buts for Gilas Pilipinas.”

National coach Chot Reyes echoed the sentiment, picking Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia as the teams to look out for in SEABA.

“There is no room for error here in this tournament,” said Reyes, who bared other teams are probably bringing with them naturalized players.

A total of 24 players from the PBA are part of the national team pool.

Meanwhile, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said that the federation is prepared to stage the event.

“We’ll be ready for the SEABA,” said Barrios. (MS)