Brunei's Filipino coach hopes Batang Gilas show more compassion

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Brunei, a team coached by Filipino mentor Nomar Isla, is expected to get valuable learning experience from their counterparts from Batang Gilas and enjoy Filipino hospitality.

For two days, Brunei, a country whose basketball program is just starting, was given a rude welcome by Indonesia and Thailand. The two more superior squads showed no mercy, keeping up the pressure against their less-skilled rivals despite their big advantage.

Isla, who coached Emilio Aguinaldo College for several years, sees the Batang Gilas squad will show more compassion in the spirit of sportsmanship.

“Yung mga Pinoy naman they know their basketball. Kapag alam nilang kaya yung kalaban inaalalayan rin nila because they’re true gentlemen of the sport,” Isla said.

(The Filipinos know their basketball. If they know they can easily beat the opponent, they take it easy because they’re true gentlemen of the sport.)

The Philippines and Brunei will face off Friday at 4pm in the main game of the SEABA Under-16 tournament at the Xavier University Gym as both teams try to resume their goal of continuous improvement in the event.

The Batang Gilas side quickly stamped its class on its debut game against Malaysia where the Filipinos got big contributions from nearly all the players fielded in by head coach Michael Oliver.

Jonas Tibayan and SJ Belangel, two highly-touted players of the national team, finished in double figures for the Filipinos, who are ready to make short work of their opponent and secure a berth immediately in the FIBA Asia Under16 tournament.

The SEABA Under-16, an event normally being dominated by the Filipinos, offers is a qualifying event for the FIBA Asia Under-16. The top three winners in the SEABA tournament earn tickets for the regional event likely to be held in Indonesia following the withdrawal of India in hosting the event. –