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Photo by Daman Singh

U of C Dinos Men’s Basketball team takes on the Philippines’ Gilas Legends 

By Dianne Miranda, July 2 2024—

On June 29, the University of Calgary Dinos men’s basketball team took on the Gilas Legends, a group of decorated players who represented the Philippines men’s national team at the Olympics and other International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The exhibition game took place in the Jack Simpson Gym as part of the Gilas Legends Canada tour, which includes six games across provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick. 

Photo by Daman Singh

In this game of old school versus new blood, the Dinos triumphed with a thrilling 133-65 game. The gym was filled with international and local fans, many of whom were from the Filipino community of the city, as the Dinos made the weekend their early return from the 2023-2024 campaign. The energy from the crowd spoke to the Filipinos’ love for the game and the community built around it.

The evening opened with Nate Petrone scoring 12 points, four three-pointers, for the Dinos quickly setting the intense pace and pushing the veteran Gilas players to match the energy. Petron, a First Team All-Canadian, scored a total of 29 points, helping secure the win. 

Gilas’ top players from the night included Filipino household names Gary David, who scored 18 points, followed by 14 points each from Jeffrei Chan and Beau Belga.

“They are all veteran guys, they are all smart. They caught us a couple of times, jumping in the air. They’ve played for a while and have a very high IQ, so you have to be locked in at all times,” Petron said when asked about playing against players with international experience like the Gilas Legends. 

This game was also an important and meaningful one with it being Aidan Smith’s first competitive game back in 575 days coming off an injury and first shared game with brother Cian Smith. Together, the Smiths scored a collective 35 points, 19 from Aidan and 16 from Cian. 

This Beyond the Hoops event, hosted in collaboration with Go Hard Sports, aimed to engage a community that loves basketball and provide the Dinos with an opportunity to play against high-caliber professional players. 

“It’s just awesome, it gets the whole community out. It was great to see, we had a great crowd. Any time where you can bring a different community that we’re not typically used to, it was awesome. You get to meet a lot of new people,” said Petron. 

The Gilas Legends continue their tour playing in Regina on June 30, and then returning to Alberta on July 6 and 7 for games in Edmonton and Red Deer.  They will be ending the tour on July 13 and 14 in Winnipeg and Saint John. 

“2014 yung last na nagsama sama sila so ang ganda ng get-together ulit ngayon. Kahit talo yung game, nag enjoy yung Filipino. Yun lang ang habol natin, para magpasaya lahat” [“(The players) last played together in 2014 so their get-together again now is beautiful. Even though they lost the game, the Filipinos (in the crowd) enjoyed it. That’s all we want, to make everyone happy”], said Frankie Taylor, an old college teammate of some of the Gilas players and organizer of the Gilas Legends Canada tour. 

“Makikita mo, all basic (moves). Kahit di makatakbo, nandun pa rin yung momentum and physicality. So syempre kahit ako, kalaban ko yung mga bata, different, pero good experience” [You’ll see (it’s) just all basic moves. Even though they can’t run, the momentum and the physicality (of the game) is still there. Of course, even for me, playing younger kids, it’s different, but a good experience”], Taylor said. 

Photo by Daman Singh

Now the focus for the Dinos moves to training in preparation for the Baha Mar Summer League against schools from the NCAA, set to take place July 28 to Aug. 29. 

To keep updated on the latest Dinos news as they release 2024-2025 Canada West men’s basketball schedule and launch of season tickets on July 17, visit the Go Dinos website or download the Go Dinos app

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