CHOT Reyes definitely welcomes the idea of Gilas Pilipinas playing as a guest team in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup.
Reyes said playing together as one unit during the third conference would be a good jump-off point for the nationals’ training and preparation for the FIBA-World Cup in Spain.
The Governors Cup starts by the end of May.
“For me, yes (on Gilas suiting up for the final conference of the season). Anything that can give us more time to prepare and practice would be good for us,” said Reyes at the end of Monday night’s light practice at the Philsports Arena that kicks off the training of the national team to the world basketball championship.
During the team huddle shortly after practice, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios brought up the possibility of Gilas seeing action as the 11th team in the final tournament of the pro league for the season.
Barrios however, made it clear the suggestion is just one of the many ideas being considered in order to give the team ample time to prepare for the August 31 to September 14 world tilt.
“Hopefully, that would be seen as a win-win (solution), dahil kapag kayo na pull out sa third conference, magsa-suffer din naman ang PBA,” said Barrios in his brief talk with the team at centercourt.
Barrios, a former PBA commissioner who current chief Chito Salud succeeded, also believed that fan interest in Gilas is very strong especially in light of its silver medal finish in last year’s Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship that paved the way for the country’s first stint in the World Cup in the last four decades.
“For you to become as the 11th team may be good, because there are many of our countrymen who wanted to see you in the flesh. Hindi naman lahat yan makakapunta sa Spain,” said the SBP executive.
The proposal though, would still need the approval of the PBA Board under chairman Ramon Segismundo.
“Whether it’s approved or not, we’ll have another configuration and then we’ll wait and see,” said Barrios. “But indeed, there is a big clamor for you guys to get together as soon as possible.”
National teams playing as guest squad in the PBA had been a common practice in the past.
Salud himself allowed the Smart Gilas team of coach Rajko Toroman to compete and vie for the title of the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup when the national team was in the thick of its preparation for the Fiba-Asia tournament in Wuhan, China.