Led by the fabled Gilas-Pilipinas basketball team, the Philippines stands to send “a sizable delegation” to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Fresh from attending a meeting between chiefs of mission of all 45 countries comprising the Olympic Council of Asia last week, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia said Gilas-Pilipinas is a shoo-in to the Asian Games on the strength of its runner-up finish in the FIBA-Asia held in Manila last August.
The Incheon Games is set Sept. 19 until Oct. 4 and Garcia stressed that aside from the 12-man cage squad, poised to strut its stuff is an equally-celebrated team, the 21-man Philippine Azkals.
“Since there is no age requirement in the Asian Games as it is open to all players, we will field the Azkals in the Asian Games so they can test their skills and gauge their competence among the top Asian teams,” said Garcia.
The PSC had slammed the door on the participation of an under-23 team that was assembled by the Philippine Football Federation for the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games since the PSC believed that it wasn’t capable of making it to the medal podium.
The Azkals, comprised mainly of players from Europe with Filipino lineage, have been rising in the FIFA rankings the past few years and are now at 133rd.
Even its female counterparts, the Malditas, might end up getting a berth to Inchoen if they make waves in Myanmar.
Garcia said the Korean hosts have impressed all the delegates with its showcase of brand-new venues and the construction of the main stadium is nearing completion.
“I can say that the venues are 80 percent complete,” said Garcia.