There is a lot of news coming out of the Filipino basketball world. First, Smart Gilas, the Filipino National Team, was able to secure a gold medal in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Championships held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Despite battling numerous injuries and being without a few of their PBA stars, Smart Gilas was able to win every game handily. Once again, the Philippines proved their regional dominance.
The PBA has seen a lot of action as well. In a really cool move, the PBA is on the road this week playing in the United Arab Emirates. Home to between 300,000 and 500,000 Filipinos, the games should be packed. I have witnessed firsthand in Taiwan the passion that Filipino spectators bring to the stadium when a Filipino team comes to play. The teams should feel right at home in a loud and wild arena. The first-place Texters will look to maintain their perfect record and B-Meg today and Ginebra tomorrow.
B-Meg made the biggest personnel move of the week by sending Stefhon Hannah home and bringing in well-traveled pro Darnell Hinson. Hinson has been playing internationally for the past 7 years with stops in Latin America, Europe, and Australia. While I am honestly not familiar with Hinson, anyone who can average over 20 ppg in the Australian NBL is a pretty good ball player. Hopefully he will gel with the B-Meg squad and show a more consistent shot (shoot over 35%) than Hannah did. This move will be interesting as there are only four more games in this conference before the playoffs. Is that enough time for an import to come in and make a difference?
It has been a busy time for basketball in Indonesia as well. In the biggest news the Indonesian National Team was able to qualify for the FIBA Asia Basketball Championship in China in September by finishing 2nd in the SEABA tournament. The Indonesian squad were trounced twice by the Filipinos, but were able to defeat both Malaysia and Singapore to secure their place.
The NBL also hosted a visiting contingent of “NBA Legends” consisting of Cedric Ceballos, Cliff Robinson, Dale Ellis, Voshon Leonard, and others. While the list of players seems hardly “legendary” to me, the two games against the NBL Select Team brought out big crowds and increased exposure to the game and league. On the 22nd the NBL also hosted a launch party for the 2011-2012 season. At the party it was announced that games would be played in even more locations around the archipelago. With no announcement regarding import players, it looks like it will still be a purely domestic league next year.