NOT only is Gilas Pilipinas pressed for time in forming a team, but even the coaching staff remains a big question mark ahead of the November window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.
Mark Dickel, the interim coach in the first window of the qualifiers, will likely not be available for the national team as he will be with TNT KaTropa in the PBA bubble season at the Clark Freeport Zone beginning on October 11.
The Kiwi mentor is an active consultant for the Tropang Giga, closely working with head coach Bong Ravena as the team seek glory this 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
Even the assistant coaches who worked with Dickel in the first window last February, where the Philippines scored a 100-70 win over Indonesia in Jakarta, are also set to miss the next set of games.
Topex Robinson has recently been promoted to interim head coach of Phoenix Super LPG, replacing Louie Alas who was fired weeks before the season restart.
It's the same case for Sandy Arespacochaga, who is an assistant to Dickel and Ravena in TNT.
Of the coaches who worked for Gilas in that Indonesia game, only Alex Compton may be available. The former Alaska head coach was signed as a full-time assistant coach last February.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio previously stated that the federation was looking to name a full-time head coach in time for the November window, but that was before the global COVID-19 pandemic derailed all plans and timelines for the new-look national team.
SBP program director Tab Baldwin has also repeatedly said that he's in no rush to name a new coach, putting premium on the formation of the squad first.
Asked about the coach for the planned resumption of games this November, the stern bench tactician quipped: "We don't know yet."
Gilas is already facing prospects of trotting out an all-cadets squad, with the PBA players inside the Clark bubble unable to reinforce the national team, with the planned qualifying window coinciding with the resumption of the 2020 PBA season.
It's still a mystery how the national team will move forward, with Fiba yet to release the full details on its planned bubbles.