Fast Break


It has been more than three decades since the Philippine national basketball team has dominated in the men's basketball competition at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Alas, the Gilas Pilipinas struggled to win the men's basketball gold medal for the first time this year. Nevertheless, in retrospect, we can't dispute how these Filipino basketball players have excelled and made us proud for thirty-three years.

/ 15 June 2022

The success that the Southeast Asian giant, Gilas Pilipinas, has had in the past will never be forgotten — even if things aren’t going the squad’s way right now. It is because of the team’s success that Southeast Asian countries regard the Philippines as a powerhouse in the sport of basketball. So let’s take a look at the past to see how the Philippine pride has been able to keep its reign for such a long time.

What happened in 1977?

Since basketball was incorporated into the SEA Games in 1977, the Philippines men’s team has dominated the competition, capturing 18 medals in the 21 tournaments that have been staged.

In 1989, Malaysia was able to unseat the Philippines as champions, ending the Philippines’ reign of supremacy that had lasted for twelve years. But after that, it is indisputable that the Filipinos continue to set the benchmark for basketball in Southeast Asia since they did not allow their rivals to wallow in their victory for a lengthy moment.

They initiated an immediate effort to reclaim their title and made it a priority to keep the Philippines at the top of its game. They did not disappoint, and as a result, the Filipinos retained their title and maintained their basketball supremacy in the region from 1991 until 2019.

Who are the prominent players throughout the decades?

A common aspiration among Filipino basketball players is to one day wear the Philippine flag proudly displayed on their jersey. Because of this, we’ve seen our best cagers step up and represent the Philippines in international competitions like the SEA games. 

Over the course of the last several decades, we have witnessed members of the Philippine national team who have been consistently successful on the global stage. Some of them are the following: 

Allan Caidic 

Without a doubt the best shooter our country has ever produced even though several generations have gone. Because Caidic could shoot just as well as, if not better than, the prolific gunners that the Philippines was up against, there was always a deep assurance that the Philippines had a fighting chance. At the SEA Games held in 1985, he won the gold medal.

Alvin Patrimonio 

Some might say that the Philippine Basketball Legend legend was too little, in terms of height that is, to play power forward but it did not deter him from battling toe-to-toe with players twice his size. While competing for the all-amateur squad at the SEA Games held in Jakarta in 1987, he wound up getting the gold medal.

Rommel Adducul 

Adducul’s PBA career wasn’t very noteworthy in comparison to the careers of some of the other players on this list; however, he has established a strong reputation on the international scene. He was successful in obtaining a gold medal at the SEA Games in 1997, 1999, and 2001.

June Mar Fajardo 

Fajardo extended their reign as champions of the SEA Games to an unprecedented 18th consecutive win. Although Fajardo has won a lot of prestigious titles during his outstanding PBA career, including five Most Valuable Player honors and eight crowns, this one is certainly one of his most prized possessions. The victory allowed Fajardo to claim the accolade of SEA Games gold medalist in 2019.

Jayson Castro

Regarded as the most proficient point guard for the Philippines men’s national basketball team, has established a name for himself on the world stage. He became known as one of the best point guards in Asia during the course of his career. In 2007, Castro, also known as “The Blur,” competed in the Southeast Asian Games and finished with a gold medal. 

Jimmy Alapag 

Known as “The Mighty Mouse” and “The Captain,” Jimmy Alapag was a PBA All-Star and one of the league’s 40 greatest players before leading Gilas to the 2014 FIBA World Cup as their longest-serving captain. Notable for his killer three-pointers from long distances, Alapag is also known for his exceptional passing, ball control, and clever decision-making in the game. Tim Cone, the most successful coach in PBA history, even signed him as an assistant coach for the 2019 SEA Games.

Kiefer Ravena 

Aside from being selected as the Gilas Cadets team captain for the 2015 SEABA Championship in Singapore that won the gold in 2015. He also played at the SEA Games in the same year where they won gold defeating Indonesia. Ravena was the only Filipino basketball player to win five straight SEA Games gold medals in the sport.

LA Tenorio 

After only joining the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team in 2012, Tenorio has emerged as the team’s primary playmaker. Tenorio just recently got his first gold medal in 2019, after he assisted the Philippines in their victory against Thailand in the SEA Games. He finished his initial spell at the tournament with a total of 16 points.

The players on this list are just a small sample of the Filipino players that brought dignity and pride to the country. The glory of our Kababayans will continue to rise in the future as Gilas put in their maximum effort. Thus, it symbolized our country’s momentous periods. They are beacons of hope for the future generation of basketball players.

Who are the minds behind the dynasty?

Below is the list of basketball coaches in the Philippines who have proved themselves to be genuinely remarkable not only inside the country but even in the international arena. Many people admire these coaches for their efforts to improve Philippine basketball. Through their guidance, athletes were able to improve their performance in practice and competition. To some extent, they have shaped the skills of all of these Filipino great players. 

Joe Lipa 

Lipa is widely recognized as the guy who led the University of the Philippines (UP) to its first UAAP men’s basketball championship in 1986. In the same year, Lipa was also in charge of the Philippine national squad that competed at the Asian Games that year in Seoul, Korea, and won an Asian bronze medal. Afterward, Lipa led the national team to gold medals at the 1987 and 1995 SEA Games.

Tim Cone 

Probably one of the most successful coaches in the history of the PBA, having won three titles in just the past decade alone. This makes him one of the most successful coaches in the league’s history. With his tutelage Gilas Pilipinas earned their 18th Southeast Asian Games gold medal, concluding a spectacular decade.

Yeng Guiao 

Regarded as a player’s coach because he is able to maximize the potential of any player who is willing to follow his instructions and buy into his philosophy. It’s clear that Guiao knows how to motivate his players and get them to perform at their peak level. As a result, he keeps being drawn back into action. Even as head coach of the national team, he had an up-and-down start. Nevertheless, Guiao laid the groundwork for Gilas’ future.     

Chot Reyes 

Extremely successful and admired by a large number of people after leading Talk ‘N Text to victory in the 2012 Philippine Cup for the fourth time in a row. Thereafter, he guided Gilas Pilipinas to a silver medal performance in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, which earned the Philippines a berth in the 2014 FIBA World Cup for the first time since 1978. Reyes resigned from his position in 2014 but finally returned the following year, guiding Gilas to victory in the 2017 Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship.

Tab Baldwin 

Unknown to the country earlier in 2013 when he served as Chot Reyes’s consultant. But by the end of the decade, everyone has discovered the American-Kiwi mentor’s actual potential. Baldwin was given the head coaching position of Gilas Pilipinas in 2015 and immediately proved his worth after finishing the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore with a winning record. He then guided the Philippine national team to a silver medal performance in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha.

Throughout their run in the Southeast Asian Games, the Gilas Pilipinas were guided by some of the best coaches in the sports industry. They are the few notable names, despite this, we are confident that every one of the Philippine national coaches gave their absolute dedication in order to earn the title.

To wrap things off, we should appreciate the athletes and coaches’ perseverance and tenacity shown throughout the entirety of their game. It is not accurate to say that they were unsuccessful simply because they did not win a single gold medal. Perhaps it is just a wake-up call for them to remind them to not become complacent. Even so, you’ve earned our admiration for your hard work and dedication. No matter what happens, you have the support of the entire community behind you.