Alex Mallari hoping time will come when change in Fiba rule will allow him to play for Gilas
Mahindra guard Alex Mallari admitted Gilas officials approached him when they were in the process of naming the players from the 12 different PBA teams who will be added to the 12 Gilas cadets already in the training pool. Jaime Campos

AWARE he’s ineligible to play for Gilas Pilipinas 5.0, Alex Mallari said he’ll be more than happy to provide an extra warm body in practice if called upon by the national team.

It’s the least he can do for the national cause since Mallari said a problem with his papers hindered him from suiting up with the national team.

“It would have been nice for sure,” he said of a Gilas stint. “But if they want an extra body just for practice, I’m more than available.”

Arguably the face of Mahindra team today, the 29-year-old big guard would have been a shoo-in to the Gilas training pool under the one-per-PBA-team agreement reached by the pro league and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Unfortunately, Mallari not being born here and failing to secure a Philippine passport by the time he reached 16 made him ineligible to play for the national squad as per Fiba rule.

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The native of Long Beach, California admitted Gilas personnel approached him when they were still in the process of naming the players from the 12 different teams who will be added to the 12 Gilas cadets already in the training pool.

“They said they’ll taking a hard look at me,” Mallari recalled. “They said they’re interested, but my paper works just wasn’t.”

With Mallari out, LA Revilla came over and filled the gap.

“I’m happy for LA. He deserves to be in that team,” he said.

But Mallari is not losing hope, believing his time playing for flag and country will come

“Maybe when they change the rules later on, then maybe,” he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos