GILAS Pilipinas cadets will be able to join the PBA rookie draft this year, on the condition that they will be released to the national team once preparations for international tournaments are in full swing.
According to sources, players targeted for the Gilas cadets pool were informed about the condition during a meeting on Tuesday where Chot Reyes was introduced as the new head the national basketball program.
"They will part of Gilas and part of the PBA," said the source who asked not to be named.
Plans for a separate draft for the Gilas cadets is still up for approval by the PBA board, although it has already been approved by an ad hoc committee made up of PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa, Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president and concurrent Meralco governor Al Panlilio and Rain or Shine board representative Mert Mondragon.
The same goes for a proposal to tap one player each from the 12 PBA teams that will join the Gilas cadets in the pool, which will become the source of players for the national teams in all international tournaments at any level - Southeast Asia, Asia, and world.
"It will be impossible that only one team will be formed in all the tournaments," said the source.
The plan to allow the cadets to join the draft and play in the PBA makes sense, the source added, since it will assure the players will be in shape each time they will be tapped for Gilas.
Under the plan agreed upon in principle by members of the ad hoc committee, a special draft for the Gilas cadets will be held on the same day as the regular PBA draft, where the natural order of drafting - meaning minus the trades agreed upon prior to the draft - will be followed.
The twin agreements, once approved by the board, will ensure the continued participation of the PBA in the national team program as Reyes makes a return to Gilas to take the place of Tab Baldwin, who has been relegated to a consultant position - the role he played under Reyes in 2013 and 2014.
In Reyes' watch, PBA players suited up for the national team that finished runner-up in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship in Manila and made a historic return to the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.
Reyes last coached Gilas during the 2014 Asian Games.