THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is now looking at the possible option of withdrawing Gilas Pilipinas from the Asian Games after it received communication from the Olympic Council of Asia on Monday reiterating that Andray Blatche cannot play in the quadrennial meet set in Incheon, Korea later this month.
SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas said the letter from Haider Farman, director of the Asian Games Department of the OCA, seemed final, and now the federation is carefully studying several options including a pullout.
“I think it’s with finality, but we will still be sending a group there to talk to them,” said Vargas in a news conference on Monday held at the Meralco building in Pasig.
“We are exhausting all means to come up with a diplomatic solution.”
A withdrawal could result in sanctions from sports governing bodies, but SBP said it is still considering the option and ready for the consequences.
The first option, Vargas said, is to go to the Asiad and accept the decision to play with Marcus Douthit, while the second is to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland
“The sanction can come in many ways… we need to analyze that,” said Vargas. “Even if there is a sanction, will you compromise your principles?
“Ano’ng tumutulak sa atin, we want to be able to send the best team we can give, for the Filipinos and for basketball, to fight for the gold medal, 'yan and tumutulak sa atin.”
“No. 2, tingin natin ’di naman dapat tayo magpa-api, kung tama ang iniisip natin, sa interpretasyon ng batas ng Fiba, kasi si mismong sec-gen Patrick Baumann ng Fiba, in his letter, said Blatche should be allowed to play so we cannot just try and allow these things to happen without fighting for our rights.”
SBP will send a small delegation led by consultant Moying Martelino, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco, and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia on Wednesday to Incheon and discuss things with the Asiad organizers.