SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) vice-chairman Robbie Puno underlined the need for a bigger pool of players who will make up more than one national team for the upcoming major international games considering the new qualifying format for the World Cup.
The former Antipolo representative said the Philippines must adapt to the new home-and-away four-window World Cup qualifying format that is bound to create a conflict of schedule with participating countries’ pro leagues.
Puno gave the NBA as an example, believing the world’s top pro league can only “potentially play a maximum of two of those windows.”
“That is mirrored for every other country in the world because you can't have just a single national team anymore,” Puno said. “Every country, the premium is now being placed on the ability of a country to develop not just a national team but a second, third, maybe fourth national team.”
Puno commended the PBA for being gracious enough to release as many players as it can to the pool, filling enough players to field teams – although some players are set to do double-duty – for the Jones Cup, Fiba Asia Cup, and the Southeast Asian Games.
“(But) the efforts need to be strengthened,” Puno said. “We have to be even better than we are now. We are moving in our first window in November, and we’re going to have to see how we are going to match up with the competition.”
“It should be clear that the mission of the SBP is not to be the best basketball team in the world – that is unrealistic,” he added.
“What we want to do is to participate in tournaments like the World Cup and the Olympics. That means, in order for us to participate, we must be the best in Asia, and that is our mission – our mission is to regain Asian supremacy.”