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Philippines aims to defend SEA Games men’s basketball title

Nguyen Thi Phuong Chung

VNA – Head coach of the Philippine men’s basketball team Chot Reyes has affirmed the goal of defending the country’s championship title at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam, which, if realised, would be the 14th time in a row.

Reyes, however, said Indonesia and Vietnam will be formidable rivals on the road to realise the goal.

“We’re very seriously looking at the competition,” Reyes told CNN Philippines, noting that Indonesia has a strong line-up with a former NBA player who is over 2.1m tall, and that’s going to be a problem.

According to him, Vietnam, with four Viet-American players, is also going to be a problem and Thailand has always been tough.

“So we’re not taking anyone for granted,” he said.

Reyes has named many familiar faces to SEA Games 31, such as June Mar Fajardo, Mo Tautuaa, RR Pogoy, Kevin Alas, Troy Rosario, Kib Montalbo, Isaac Go and Matthew Wright, Japan-based Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, and cadets Will Navarro and Francis Lopez.

The Philippines has dominated regional men’s basketball, winning 18 of the 20 men’s events since the sport was played except in 1979 and 1989 when Malaysia won.