BLACKWATER, Star, Phoenix and Barangay Ginebra can heave a sigh of relief.
Early indications show Gilas Pilipinas cadets won't be immediately pulled out of their mother PBA teams during the lead-up to the national team's first tournament appearance in the Seaba championship.
Under the terams of the memorandum of agreement signed by the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Gilas can pull out the cadets from their mother teams two months before a tournament which the Philippine team will participate in.
On the other hand, the 12 veteran PBA players named to complete the 24-man Gilas pool by head coach Chot Reyes can be pulled out for training a month before a tournament.
With the Seaba championship slated for May 12 to 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Gilas cadets can be, technically speaking, pulled out for training even before the start of the midseason PBA Commissioner's Cup which kicks off on March 17.
However, PBA officials said Reyes has given an assurance that Gilas sees no need to pull out the cadets from their mother teams so early in the buildup for the Seaba tournament that serves as the regional qualifier for the Fiba Asia championship in Lebanon in August.
But on when the Gilas pool members - both cadets and the veterans - will be summoned to national duty, the PBA and SBP will still have to set in a future meeting, league officials added.
Gilas officially begins its preparation with a three-day camp in Tagaytay from March 14-16, but it will be more of a bonding session than training for the nationals.
[See Gilas camp will be more of a bonding session than training]
The assurance should come as good news for teams like Blackwater, Star, Ginebra and Phoenix, which have relied heavily on their Gilas cadets in the last Philippine Cup.
Mac Belo and Matthew Wright have stood as pillars for Blackwater and Phoenix, respectively, while Jio Jalalon has become an integral part of the rotation of Star coach Chito Victolero.
On the other hand, Kevin Ferrer came into his own with Ginebra in the last Philippine Cup playoffs and his presence will be needed in the early part of the Commissioner's Cup with Joe Devance set to miss out to undergo surgery on a plantar fasciitis tear on his left foot.
Roger Pogoy has also played well for TNT KaTropa under Nash Racela.
Aside from the five, the other Gilas cadets are Carl Bryan Cruz (Alaska), Von Pessumal (GobalPort), Ed Daquioag (Meralco), Mike Tolomia of Rain or Shine, Arnold Van Opstal of San Miguel, Russel Escoto of Mahindra, and Ponso Gotladera of NLEX.
Mahindra won't be affected by the pullout since Escoto is out indefinitely with a knee injury.