GILAS Pilipinas men’s and women’s 3×3 get first crack at redemption in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) among the Philippine hoops contingent as they hunt for their lost gold medals on May 6 to 7 in Cambodia.
Gilas men’s 3×3, which settled for a bronze medal in the last edition in Vietnam after ruling the inaugural three-a-side staging in Manila in 2019, hit the half-court of the Morodok Techo National Stadium Elephant Hall 2 a day after the Games’ May 5 opening to play three assignments in Pool A.
The Almond Vosotros-led crew plays Laos in the 10:20 a.m. curtain raiser then returns against 2021 silver medalist Vietnam at 1:40 p.m. before wrapping up its slate against Indonesia at 5 p.m.
The ladies’ climb back to the summit begins on the same day with the squad led by the returning Jack Animam competing in the preliminaries of tough Pool A.
Gilas women’s 3×3, the event’s inaugural champ who finished fourth in the Hanoi edition, battles 2021 runner-up Vietnam right away at 9:20 p.m. then takes on lightweight Laos at 12 noon before going to its grudge match against defending champion Thailand at 3:40 p.m.
Initial target for both squads is to top the group or at least rank second to advance to the medal rounds on May 7.
The Gilas men’s “Redeem Team,” which suffered a painful fall from the top in Hanoi, launches its bring-back-the-gold bid on May 9 in a Pool A opener against Malaysia.
The Pinoy cagers later face host Cambodia (May 11) and Singapore (May 13).
With this new format, the Philippines won’t be facing recent conqueror Indonesia and other big threats until the playoffs. Indonesia, which topped the single round robin meet in Vietnam with a 6-0 card against Gilas’ 5-1, engages in a battle royale with bronze medalist Thailand, fourth placer Vietnam and Laos for the two semis tickets in Pool B.
Gilas women’s, which averted a shutout in the last SEAG, starts its “three-peat” bid on May 10 against the host Cambodians. It then plays daily matches until May 15 against Singapore, 2021 second-placer Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and bronze medalist Malaysia. Like in the Vietnam edition, the No. 1 women’s team in the standings takes home the gold. — Olmin Leyba