THE man at the helm of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) obviously couldn’t hide his disappointment with the decision of several mainstays of Gilas Pilipinas not to play for the national team bound for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Changsha, China.
Manny V. Pangilinan, the SBP president, took to twitter in expressing his feelings especially about PBA teams which lend players to the national squad as it scrambles to form a team competitive enough for the Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 meet that serves as qualifier to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
“Sad day for Phil basketball. But thank you to the team which helped the national cause. Laban Pilipinas. Puso,” Pangilinan twitted in his account @iamMVP.
While Pangilinan was careful not to mention any entity, the message was obviously meant to mock the San Miguel Corp. group – the company rival of the Pangilinan faction in the pro league – as three of its players in back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, and LA Tenorio begged off from playing for Gilas Pilipinas anew.
All three were part of the Gilas team that finished runner-up to Iran in the 2013 edition of the Fiba-Asia meet here in Manila and had been listed by coach Tab Baldwin in the 16-man Gilas training pool.
Of the three, Pingris was the most vocal about his desire to suit up for the national team as both Fajardo and Tenorio already stated they’re not joining the team due to injury and health reasons, respectively.
Pingris initially said he will be available for Gilas only after his trip to France owing to family matters.
But since arriving from Europe Wednesday, the Star Hotshot defensive player hasn’t showed up yet at the Meralco gym for Gilas’ daily practice.
San Miguel management though, said all three players have been given the go signal to see action for the national team.