PLAYERS who are going to be tapped as part of the reborn Gilas program in time for the new FIBA home-and-away format will be offered at least three-year contracts to become part of the program.
No final roster has yet been made by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), but the country’s governing body for basketball is now about to begin the process of talking to the players who it deemed will fit the system.
Kevin Ferrer, Russel Escoto, Gio Jalalon, and Kiefer Ravena were among the '14 to 15' players who the SBP has talked to about joining the Gilas program. They are set to sit down with their representative Danny Espiritu within the week to discuss their course of action.
“I have to remind them three years yan, meaning you’re committed to play for the national team in the next three years. Hindi ka basta-basta aalis diyan dahil bigla mo naisipan na sumali sa PBA draft,” said Espiritu.
The longtime players’ agent himself will talk with Gilas team manager Butch Antonio, who said the program, patterned after the Northern Consolidated Corp. (NCC) approach made by former basketball godfather Danding Cojuangco and later, adopted by the original Smart Gilas team under Rajko Toroman, has already been approved by the SBP.
In a report by Interaksyon.com, the basketball body under president Manny V. Pangilinan, earlier said most members of the Gilas cadets program have acceded to make themselves available for the 2016 PBA draft in order to suit up for the national team next year when the new FIBA home-and-away format will be implemented.
The program is aimed at qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
The home-and-away format that will have Asia and Oceania merging into Asia-Pacific zone, also put in doubt the participation of PBA players for the national team since the qualifying zones will be held on a quarterly basis.
Once put in place, the Gilas cadet program will also deal a big blow to the PBA rookie draft, especially to the freshman pool next season.
“Kaya meaning magiging available lang sila for drafting by 2019 na. Kaya I have to tell them about the pros and cons of it,” said Espiritu.
Antonio confirmed all of these are informal talks, although he said the SBP is really preparing this early for the next World Cup.
“This program is all the way through the new Fiba program starting with the 2017 home-and-away format for the 2019 World Cup,” said Antonio, who just arrived from Thailanf with the Gilas cadets team that won the championship in the 5th SEABA Stankovic Cup.
Aside from Ravena, Ferrer, Jalalon, and Escoto, part of the Gilas cadets squad which beat Thailand for the title, 97-80, are Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Von Pesumal, Raymar Jose, Ken Holmqvist, and Jonas Raphael Tibayan.