ONE look at the South Korean blueprint in its buildup for the Fiba World Cup and Gilas coach Chot Reyes was immediately envious. The Korean basketball team's timeline for 2014 read: April to May, training camp; May to June, abroad training; June, July, August, exhibition matches; September, Fiba World Cup and Asian Games.
"Tayo, August pa," rued Reyes on Twitter on Wednesday.
Korea and the Philippines are both bound for the world championships and their paths will most likely cross again in the Asiad in Incheon. But unlike the Koreans' well-laid plans, Reyes can't seem to do anything but to plead for more time in Gilas' own buildup for the two tournaments.
As it is, the PBA board has already laid down its season schedule that leaves a brief window beginning on August 1 for Gilas' team of professional players to prepare for its return to the Fiba World Cup set from August 30 to September 14, as well as the Asiad from September 19 to October 4.
Worse, the August 1 start of Gilas' training camp will not include national players who will be seeing action in the finals of the PBA's season-ending Governors Cup, which is set to end on August 15 if it goes the full seven games.
Time is obviously too short, but all Reyes could do is beg.
"I know the PBA has already made a lot of sacrifices for the hosting of the Fiba-Asia (championships) last year and it is paying for it this season," said the multi-titled coach. "But I hope they could find a way to give Gilas more time to prepare for the World Cup."
Sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), had earlier bared to Spin.ph a plan to ask the PBA to excuse Gilas players from the Governors Cup to give the national team a longer preparation for the World Cup and the Asiad.
[For full story, see SBP wants Gilas players excused from Governors Cup to focus on World Cup buildup]
However, league sources said the plan, which was already broached to Commissioner Chito Salud, is "very unlikely" to get the nod of the league board.
With the short lead time, Reyes said "my hands are tied" as far as the other aspects of Gilas' buildup is concerned, from the plan to hire other naturalized players for Gilas to invitations from several countries to participate in pre-World Cup pocket tournaments.
Reyes said there have been invitations to compete in tournaments in Lithuania, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. But with the PBA board unlikely to lengthen Gilas' window, Reyes said he is unable to commit.
It was the same with the plan to sign another naturalized player to add to Marcus Douthit, the Gilas coach said.
"How can you sign a naturalized player when there's not even a regular practice where we can use him," Reyes said. "Anong sasabihin natin sa kanya, 'Sa August ka na lang mag-practice?'
"So my hands are tied, really."
The only concession given by the board to Gilas are once-a-week practices beginning in January. But even that had to be pushed back by a month until after the Fiba World Cup draw on February 1.
"We've decided to hold the weekly practices until after the draw," Reyes said, "para at least alam na natin kung sino ang makakalaban at kung sino ang paghahandaan natin."