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    SBP disappointed about Asia Cup, but calls for unity ahead of World Cup

    Jul 22, 2022
    Al Panlilio
    SBP president Al Panlilio is urging leagues to make a sacrifice in their schedules to make players available.
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) finally broke its silence following Gilas Pilipinas' horrid ninth-place finish in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup and called for the stakeholders of the country's basketball federation to come together in putting up the best team possible in the leadup to the 2023 Fiba World Cup.

    SBP on Gilas, Chot

    Federation president Al Panlilio called the Philippines' failure to make it to the quarterfinals of the continental tilt "a disappointment" and cited the lack of training time and player availability as one of the biggest issues that the SBP must address.

    "We really have to give it full support from all basketball stakeholders," he said, three days after the Philippines bowed out of the playoffs after suffering a 102-81 loss to Japan.

    It was the first time since 2007 that Gilas missed the final eight, matching the country's finish in Tokushima.

    Panlilio cited the limited training time that coach Chot Reyes had, with the team only starting its practices on July 6, roughly a week before the tip-off of the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup, as well as Poy Erram, the lone PBA player to reinforce the roster, only training with the team thrice.

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    The executive also cited the absences of naturalized center Ange Kouame and Dwight Ramos to injuries that left a big blow to Gilas' cause.

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    The SBP has a scheduled general meeting with its stakeholders on August 1 as it "will lay out the timetable in the run-up to the World Cup."

    Aside from that, Panlilio also said that Fiba will "assist in securing clearance for Gilas players from foreign leagues" while the PBA has adjusted its calendar to only have two conferences next season and clear its schedule starting from May 2023 to the World Cup.

    Gilas is set to compete in the second round of the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers with the fourth window coming this August as it will engage in a home-and-away series with Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

    Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is expected to play for the said window, with games against Lebanon in Beirut on August 25 and versus Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena on August 29.

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    Reyes earlier hoped that Kai Sotto can join the national team for those games, as well as in the succeeding windows, the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia next year, and the World Cup.

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      The federation added that although PBA players are expected to be available for the fourth window this August, that won't be the case for the fifth window in November with the NBA, the PBA, the foreign leagues in Japan and Korea, as well as the local collegiate leagues in the UAAP and NCAA all happening at the same tme.

      "The time for leagues to sacrifice and adjust schedules with Gilas in mind is now as the World Cup is only a year away," said Panlilio.

      PBA chairman Ricky Vargas added, "The World Cup will never happen again in Manila in our lifetime. It took 45 years to bring the World Cup back to Manila, dapat laban na, all-out. We need the best to play and be allowed to play. We call on all stakeholders to unite for flag and country."

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      SBP president Al Panlilio is urging leagues to make a sacrifice in their schedules to make players available.
      PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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