THE PBA said it is still willing to make its players available for the Gilas Pilipinas squad even with the return of the cadet program where amateur standouts will suit up for the national team in international play.
PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa said the pro league remains just needs to meet with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to avoid schedule conflicts and talk about other club concerns.
"That’s part of the conversation and discussion that we are going to take. But why not?" said Narvasa to reporters when asked if the PBA is still open to lending its players for the national squad.
The SBP is reverting to the old national basketball program where amateur players will see action for the Philippine team in international competitions.
The national basketball federation said the return to the program similar to the original Gilas squad was out of necessity due to a change in the qualifying process for the 2019 World Cup in which several home-and-away games will be held within the year instead of a tournament.
The home-and-away format, could prevent PBA stars from playing for the national team due to potential conflict in schedule.
Narvasa said the PBA owners are supportive of the national team cause, and it’s just a matter of communication between the pro league and the SBP.
"I think the owners really they know how to make sacrifices. We just have to look at the data because the PBA is also used for marketing and promotional purposes. We have to look at the data also and the inputs we gathered from and how it will affect their products.
"There is also a business side to the PBA, we all know that. And this is sports entertainment. We like to look for a middle ground that we can meet all of these things and still continue with the program. That’s why we need to institutionalize it."
Knowing the Fiba schedule ahead of time will be vital, Narvasa said, so that the PBA can plan ahead.
"You have to also look at it on the revenue side of the PBA because we also have obligations to our sponsors of the PBA, Channel 5, and its sponsors," Narvasa said.
Narvasa reiterated the PBA and SBP have no conflict as the national federation focuses on the cadet program.
"You have to understand, Mr. Pangilinan also has three teams in the PBA. He doesn’t want to hurt any of his teams. It’s very hard to think that he will support only the national team and hurt the three teams which also financially supports the national team. It’s very difficult to think that there is a conflict," said Narvasa.