Butch Antonio says PBA help will always be welcome as Gilas forms amateur-laden side
Gilas team manager Butch Antonio says PBA stars reinforcing future amateur-laden Gilas teams will always be a possibility. Jaime Campos

THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas insisted it still has harmonious relationship with the PBA, saying it will still involve the pro league in the creation of future national teams despite the move to revert to the original Gilas Pilipinas program.

SBP deputy director for international affairs Butch Antonio said PBA stars reinforcing future amateur-laden Gilas teams will always be a possibility, as was  the case in Gilas 1.0 where the country’s governing body for the sport eventually asked for reinforcements from the pro league.

“That's definitely an option,” Antonio said on Thursday. “What we have is a good working relationship with the PBA, and if that's a way of showing their support, by helping the team participate like how they did before, welcome 'yun on our part. That’s a big ‘thank you.’”

The PBA lent Asi Taulava, Kelly Williams, and Ranidel de Ocampo to the amateur-loaded Gilas squad led by then naturalized reinforcement Marcus Douthit under coach Rajko Toroman in the 2011 Fiba Asia Championship where the country finished fourth.

[See Return to original Gilas concept signals end of PBA stars' participation in national team]

Antonio believes that can happen again despite the PBA calendar soon overlapping that of the Fiba-scheduled home-and-away qualification games.

“You have to deal with the PBA and the ballclub,” Antonio said. “Those things – I cannot assume stuff – but I think if the players are willing, it's just a matter of talking to the right people to see if they’ll be allowed to play.”

“We will (inform the PBA),” he added. “It's working with all the pieces of the puzzle, and everybody's a part of it. It's not just a project of one entity, it has to be work of all. Para sa bayan nga ito.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos