THE PBA board has discussed the possibility of a forming a team that will exclusively play in international competitions, much like the original Gilas setup.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said among the options they are exploring is forming a pool of players for tournaments like the Fiba Basketball World Cup qualifers, Fiba Asian Cup, Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games.
“One thing that we discussed is really putting up a national team that will be a hundred percent national team, the development of a real national team na i-hohone as the national team of the Philippines,” said Vargas. “Of course, this is in cooperation with the PBA.”
“I’m very happy that they are open to discuss this,” the PBA chairman added.
The set-up is similar to the first Gilas Pilipinas in which the players will only play for the national team for a certain number of years. The team was coached by Rajko Toroman and produced players such as Marcio Lassiter, Chris Tiu, Mark Barroca and Japeth Aguilar.
The option was brought up after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) faced issues of unavailability of players that led to the pullout of the Philippine team from the 2018 Asian Games.
Vargas stressed the need to “reinvent” the way the national team is formed due to the the new qualification system for the Fiba Basketball World Cup.
“We talked about it about what’s the best (way) in forming the national team. There are very encouraging initial thoughts. Ang problema, hindi lang naman ‘yung scheduling. A big problem dito sa home and away is that there are six windows. That means six times in a minimum of 10 days that we will have to stop the league (PBA). As opposed to before, it was only one window. We need to reinvent ourselves in how we actually do in this process,” said Vargas.
Vargas also mentioned the possibility of maintaining a cadets squad that will play in international events all the way to the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup where the Philippines has an automatic slot as host.
“Puwede rin cadets all the way to 2023, then doon lang sila magpapa-draft sa 2023. That’s also a possibility that we will be talking about,” said Vargas.