Chito Salud wants to plan ahead as PBA throws support behind bid to qualify for Rio Olympics
Commissioner Chito Salud says he has asked Gilas coach Chot Reyes to inform the league of the Fiba tournaments Gilas plans to take part in so the PBA can recalibrate its own 2014-15 calendar and ensure a hassle-free preparation for Gilas beginning with next year’s Fiba-Asia championships. Jerome Ascano

COMMISSIONER Chito Salud has assured the PBA's commitment to the Philippines' bid to return to the Olympics for the first time in over four decades, beginning with the first qualifying event next year in China.

As Gilas Pilipinas prepares to compete in the Fiba World Cup for the first time since 1978, Salud said the pro league remains committed to the next goal to see the Philippines take part in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

That's the reason the pro league wants to plan its schedule way ahead of time to avoid the cramped season it had to endure this season, just to give Gilas enough time to prepare for the Fiba World Cup in Spain.

Problem is, world governing body Fiba has yet to release its calendar of events for next year under a new and complicated qualifying format that would have the Fiba-Asia winner qualifying automatically for the Olympics and the other top finishers gaining wildcard berths in another qualifying tournament.

So far, the only thing certain is that the 2015 Fiba-Asia championships will be held in China, with no definite date pencilled for the tournament.

“What we are trying to avoid, as much as possible is be in a situation where we have to compress and reschedule our conferences for next year. So for that reason, we have sent (Gilas coach) Chot (Reyes) a preview of our calendar for next season,” Salud told Spin.ph on Monday.

This early, Salud said he has asked Reyes to also inform the league of the Fiba tournaments Gilas plans to take part in so the PBA can recalibrate its own 2014-15 calendar and ensure a hassle-free preparation for Gilas beginning with next year’s Fiba-Asia championships.

“I’ve asked him (Reyes) to inform us kailan ba 'yung ating mga mandatory tournaments. And specifically, there is one, as of today, which is called the qualifying tournament for the Olympics,” he said.

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“Unfortunately, however, the date of that tournament has yet to be set by Fiba, so he could not tell us anong date nung tournament na 'yun.”

The country’s last stint in the basketball competition of the Olympics came in the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany behind a national squad bannered by Bogs Adornado, Narciso Bernardo, Ed Ocampo, Tembong Melencio, Jimmy Mariano, and Freddie Webb.

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