WOMEN’S basketball takes center stage as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) hosts the Seventh Smart Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Women’s Championship from October 24 to 29, 2010 at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Filipinas, whose campaign is supported by Discovery Suites, will try their best to defend their home soil against crack national teams from Laos, Indonesia, Singapore and early favorites Malaysia and Thailand.
Initially, the team of Coach Haydee Ong had hoped to join the Smart Gilas Men’s Team of Coach Rajko Toroman in next month’s 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China by topping the tournament. However, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) recently decided to scrap their participation since the draw for Women’s Basketball would have been completed long before the SEABA.
The home court advantage should provide sufficient help. The tournament format calls for all six teams to play a single round robin, with the two teams with the best win-loss record playing in the one-game championship on the 29th.
This also marks the first time in a long time that the country is hosting a major international basketball competition. The last time the Philippines hosted a FIBA-Asia event was the 2005 Champions Cup. Since then, the SBP has staged several pocket tournaments.
The Filipinas have never won a Southeast Asian-level women’s competition. The best effort was a silver medal in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games.
Ever since the SBP took over the local basketball scene, the women’s program has achieved a lot. With several Fil-Am recruits in tow, the senior team was a win short of being promoted to Level I in the last FIBA-Asia Women’s. The Careline-backed 16-under team also performed credibly in the first FIBA-Asia Youth tournament in Chenai, India.
The event is presented by Smart in cooperation with Meralco, Philippine Basketball Association, San Miguel Corporation, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Powerade, Purefoods, Toyota-Balintawak, Welcoat Paints, Coca-Cola and Victory Liner.