FINALLY getting the players it desired, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is out to seek the next best thing to do – bid to stage one of the three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQT) here in 2016.
Meralco board of governor Al Panlilio said the country’s governing body for basketball will discuss the possibility of hosting one of the qualifiers now that the PBA board has acceded to the SBP’s request to make the best talent available for the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
Asked on whether the cage association will indeed go out of its way to host the qualifier to the Rio De Janeiro Summer Games, Panlilio curtly replied, ‘most probably.’
“I guess the reason (of holding it here) is because of the sixth man factor – the crowd – especially in a tournament where 17 tough countries will be competing. We’ll definitely need all the help we can gather,” added the Meralco executive, who is also vice president of the SBP.
Panlilio attended the special board meeting on Wednesday carrying with him the letter containing the list of 17 players the SBP is hoping will be released by their respective mother ballclubs to the national pool.
He got what he wanted as the board unanimously approved a resolution ‘making available to the Philippine national team the services of the PBA players who may be selected by the SBP to train for and participate in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.’
Panlilio said the availability of the players definitely gives the cage body the confidence to compete in the meet set July 5-10.
“So I guess the next question that has to be discussed by the SBP is whether we will try to bid for the hosting,” Panlilio said.
“l’ll just have to bring this document to the SBP, but this is a positive development obviously in our effort to qualify to the Olympics.”
SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan in a press conference last week said Gilas Pilipinas will not only participate in the qualifier but even bid for its hosting should the PBA give the national team the talent it needed and the proper time to train and prepare together.