GILAS Pilipinas' buildup for the World Cup qualifiers begins on Friday in a cloud of uncertainty as rival factions in the PBA board squabble over the tenure of the pro league's embattled commissioner.
The national team reconvenes for the first time since the last Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon in August, this time to prepare for the first phase of the Asian qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in China that will see Gilas playing an away game in Japan on Nov. 24 and at home against Chinese-Taipei three days later.
However, the start of training camp has been thrown in disarray by the leadership crisis in the PBA that drove a wedge between two rival blocs - TNT, Meralco, NLEX, Rain or Shine, Alaska, Phoenix nd Blackwater on one side and SMB, Star, Ginebra, KIA and GlobalPort on the other - over Narvasa's tenure.
The majority faction led by the MVP-owned teams has moved to end Narvasa's reign while the minority group made up of SMC-controlled teams and their allies, have stood behind the under-fire league chief.
The dispute has cast doubt on the availability of some players for Gilas, especially those belonging to the SMC-led bloc like Japeth Aguilar (Ginebra), June Mar Fajardo (SMB), and Terrence Romeo (GlobalPort) since the Gilas program is being led by the rival MVP group.
At posting time, the normally outspoken Gilas coach Chot Reyes has made no announcements with regards to the start of training camp or the composition of the pool while team manager Butch Antonio is not answering calls.
Still, league sources said Gilas training camp will start as scheduled on Friday with Reyes tapping players from the core of the side that finished seventh in the Fiba Asia Cup.
Gilas is also looking to bring back naturalized player Andray Blatche after the former NBA player sat out the last Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon, the sources added.