SBP confident leadership change won't affect Gilas plans for Olympic qualifiier
Manny V. Pangilinan is set to step down as SBP president when the national basketball body holds elections in January. Jerome Ascano

THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is hopeful the Gilas national pool and the country’s participation in the Olympic qualifying tournament will be supported by whoever will be at the helm of the cage body by next year.

SBP vice-president Al Panlilio believes the plans laid out Wednesday as part of the country’s bid to make it back to the Olympics after a 43-year absence will hold regardless of the change in leadership in the federation by January of 2016.

“I think at the end of the day, this is for national interest,” said Panlilio when asked about the possibility of the new SBP organization running counter to the ideals of the present administration under president Manny V. Pangilinan with regards to the participation and the plan to bid for one of the Olympic qualifying tournaments to the Rio De Janeiro Games in July.

The basketball federation is set to hold its election of officers in January, marking the end of Pangilinan’s second four-year term.

[See Pangilinan retires as SBP head to give way to new leadership]

The change in leadership could lead to a new direction for the SBP, which may affect the national team program which got a major boost following the PBA board’s decision to lend the 17 top players the federation wanted to be included in the Gilas pool led by big man June Mar Fajardo.

But Panlilio, who also acts as Meralco board of governor in the PBA, is confident the incoming SBP president will continue the Gilas program until after the qualifier is over.

"With the PBA being the source of all the players for this team, I believe this will continue and carried on by the new (SBP) board and the new president,” said the Meralco executive.   

[See PBA goes all out for Gilas]

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