IT appears San Miguel Corp. is coming on board to help Gilas Pilipinas form the best team possible for next year's FIBA World Cup.
SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua, sources said, has been appointed executive advisor of the national team program - a key position that signalled the start of the conglomerate's involvement in the Gilas program.
The appointment came during the meeting among SBP stakeholders at the PLDT office on Monday where national coach Chot Reyes presented his program for Gilas Pilipinas leading up to the 2023 World Cup campaign.
Sources said Chua has yet to say yes to SBP and requested that any appointment not be made public, but the SMC official nonetheless committed to help in any way he can in the bid to form the best team possible for the 2023 Fiba World Cup.
The appointment of the Barangay Ginebra governor also came more than a month after SMC president and chief executive Ramon S. Ang met Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chairman and president Manny V. Pangilinan in a closed-door meeting in what was believed to mark the start of a collaboration between the country's top two basketball patrons with regards to the country's campaign in the World Cup.
In light of the partnership forged between the SMC and MVP groups, SBP president Al S. Panlilio asked all stakeholders to support the Gilas campaign and the country’s first hosting of the quadrennial meet since 1978.
“I do appeal to all the stakeholders in basketball to come together and really unify in this effort,” he said.
Reyes meanwhile, presented before the SBP board his roadmap in building the men’s basketball team.
The Gilas coach, who turned 59 on the same day, identified the best players from the PBA, UAAP, NCAA, and different international pro leagues with the aim of performing in the World Cup qualifiers, reclaiming the gold in the Southeast Asian Games, and competing in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
The PBA, represented by commissioner Willie Marcial, Chua, board chairman Ricky Vargas and treasurer Atty. Raymond Zorilla, reiterated its support to the national team program by holding just two conferences for its 48th season next year to give way to Gilas’ preparation for the World Cup, which will see the team train for three months.
The UAAP through Mark Molina and Dax Castellano for the NCAA also committed to make sure players selected from their respective leagues will be able to join Gilas for the same period.
At the same time, Panlilio also reported during the meeting the formation of a local organizing committee composed of industry stalwarts and experts to prepare for the competition set August 25 to September 10.
There are also activities lined up to drum up the World Cup hosting including the One Year To Go and Tissot Countdown Clock Launch on August 27, the official draw event in April next year, and the official ball launch.
There will be 40 games in the qualifiers to be held at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and SM Mall of Asia Arena, while 12 games will be staged for the final phase at the Philippine Arena.
The country co-hosts the World Cup along with Japan and Indonesia.
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