THE Gilas Pilipinas squad under coach Chot Reyes has been officially disbanded.
The stunning development came after Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan approved the creation of a selection committee handed the task of “searching and appointing the national team’s new coach, as well as the formation of the new pool of Gilas players."
PBA commissioner Chito Salud made the announcement on Thursday.
“I have met Mr. Pangilinan after talking and consulting with all the (PBA) team owners and relay to Mr. Pangilinan the comments, observation and inputs of team owners," said Salud after emerging from the weekly board meeting held at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City.
“These comments and sentiments were received openly by Mr. Pangilinan, and during last Tuesday’s SBP board of trustees meeting, in response, to the comments and suggestions made by the PBA team owners, the SBP has approved the creation of a committee tasked to select the head coach of the national team and players from the PBA that would form the national pool,” Salud added.
The disbandment essentially put an end to the reign of Reyes, who led Gilas to a Jones Cup championship, a runner-up finish in the Fiba-Asia championships, and a historic win over Senegal in the Fiba World Cup before the team slumped to a seventh-place finish in the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Salud did not reveal the reason behind the disbandment, but it is clear the tumultuous events surrounding Reyes in Gilas' meltdown in Incheon played a big hand in SBP and Pangilinan's decision.
Salud said the selection committee, whose members would more likely include himself, SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas, executive director Sonny Barrios and current PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio and vice-chairman Robert Non, will convene immediately next month.
The commissioner said the selection committee intends to fast-track the appointment of the new coach and formation of the new pool in time for the SBP’s national board meeting in December.
At the same time, Salud said the PBA is willing to adjust its season calendar in order to give way to the new Gilas Pilipinas squad’s buildup for the 2015 Fiba-Asia men’s basketball championships in China in late August.
The Fiba-Asia tourney will serve as the qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“If end ng August iyan, (ang Fiba-Asia), puwedeng mag-compress na lang tayo para matapos tayo ng July, so may dalawang buwan na training (ang Gilas),” said Salud.