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China-Associated Research Group Questions Gilas’ Roster

Gilas Roster
James Francisco

Gilas Pilipinas’ gold-medal triumph at the 19th Asian Games has caused such a stir in China that even a research group is getting involved.

The Somali Institute of Chinese Studies (SICS), which describes itself as a “Think Tank covering China’s impact on Somalia & Africa”, has questioned the legitimacy of the Gilas roster, arguing that it is composed mostly of “either African-Americans or Africans”.

The group singled out Justin Brownlee, Chris Newsome, Ange Kouame, CJ Perez, and even FIBA players Jamie Malonzo, AJ Edu, and Jordan Clarkson.

“There is a big difference to have one or two naturalized players but to have the entire #GilasPilipinas squad made from US citizens (African-Americans professional NBA talents, naturalized Africans – under Filipino narratives) that is no diversity that's called being a US colony,” tweeted SICS.

However, Gilas defenders were quick to note that the argument is moot, considering that players of mixed ethnicities and diverse backgrounds aren’t exclusive to the National team, nor to the Philippines as a whole.

With regards to fielding naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame, China also tapped the services of NBA player Kyle Anderson aka Li Kaer for its recent FIBA run.

“They’re Filipino-Americans, they’ve got a Filipino parent. It’s common in the Philippines. Also, lots of ethnic Filipinos serve in the US Army and Navy”, said one tweet.

“Other than Brownlee and Kouame, everyone in the roster is Filipino and qualified to play for the team. It's like the US having Hakeem Olajuwon in '96 (no American decent), Greece having the Antetokounmpo brothers (no Greek decent), and China having Kyle Anderson. Try again,” said another.

Regardless of arguments, the Philippines is one of Asia’s best once again – a fact that no one can take away.

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