SBP willing to send Gilas to Olympic qualifers, bid for hosting. But on one condition 
SBP leaders Ricky Vargas, Manny V. Pangilinan and Oscar Moreno have until October 18 to signify the country's intention to participate in the Rio Olympic wildcard qualifiers in July. Reuben Terrado

THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is willing to participate in next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, more so bid for the hosting of one of three tournaments to be held simultaneously from July 4-10.

But for that to transpire, Gilas Pilipinas needs an assurance within the next 10 days that it will have the necessary players in its roster and the right amount of time to practice together.

Fiba has set an October 18 deadline for all qualified teams to signify their intention to participate in the weeklong tournament.

“It’s a short period of time until October 18,” said SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas, quoting federation president Manny V. Pangilinan following a private meeting with the Smart and PLDT chairman that preceded an SBP press conference on Thursday.

“But if the basketball community will give us the players that will make us competitive in July and give us the time to practice, pupunta tayo. And not only that, magbi-bid pa tayo to host it,” added Vargas, who also serves as Talk ‘N Text governor in the PBA board.

Pangilinan earlier noted competition in the Olympic qualifier won’t be easy, mentioning that basketball powers such as Italy, France, Greece, Mexico, Puerto Rico, among others will also be seeing action as they vie for the three remaining berth to the Rio De Janeiro Summer Games.

And not that he’s putting down the capability of Gilas 3.0 which obviously overachieved following its runner-up finish behind China in the recent Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha, China.

It’s common sense though, according to Pangilinan, that with the same team composition, he doesn’t see Gilas having a chance of being competitive against the rest of the field.

“We should manage expectations dahil matibay talaga ang mga kalaban doon,” said Pangilinan, who was joined in the presidential table by SBP chairman Oscar Moreno, vice president Al Panlilio, Vargas, and executive director Sonny Barrios.

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“We know in reality, our chance of getting to Rio with this same team, is rather slim, kaya ako reluctant. I’m not saying no, but let’s be realistic.”

Vargas said time is running fast with the October 18 deadline barely 10 days away.

“So if we can move fast and we can hear from the basketball community that they’re willing to support this and willing to help Gilas with the players that we actually need to make it successful, then we will go for it,” said the SBP executive.

In the event the SBP wish is granted, Pangilinan said he’s more than willing to pay 2 million euros as bond for the country’s intention of hosting the Olympic qualifier.

So far those which have already made intention of hosting the tournaments included Mexico, Italy, Turkey, Russia, and Serbia.

“Hindi naman umaayaw si MVP. He just doesn’t want to give people false hopes,” stressed Vargas.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos