THE PBA's offer for Gilas Pilipinas to take part in the coming 46th season, even just as a guest team, still stands.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the national team preparing for two major tournaments in the second half of the year bared its intention to play in the season-opening Philippine Cup as part of its training program.
Unlike the previous proposal of the league for them to see action as part of the entire tournament with the chance of contending for the championship, Gilas Pilipinas is just looking at playing a few games hopefully before its campaign in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia in the final week of June and the FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia by August.
“Mga ilang games lang sila. Siguro mga eight to 10 games lang, or baka lesser pa,” said Marcial.
“Hindi ito yung katulad ng gusto natin na mabuo nila at puwede silang mag champion,” he added. “Parang silip lang sila. Mga ilang games lang, yun ang sabi sa amin.”
The Gilas training pool, that includes the PBA special draftees the past two years, has resumed its training camp inside the Inspire Sports Academy bubble in Calamba, Laguna on Monday.
At the moment though, nothing is cast in stone as far as its participation in the all-Filipino is concerned.
“Tignan natin. Depende yan sa kanilang practices at kung ano yung programa nila, kung hindi sila mag a-abroad, pero palagay ko wala pang mag a-abroad.”
Prior to the June 29 to July 4 OQT in Belgrade, the national team under coach Jong Uichico and Gilas training program director Tab Baldwin will be seeing action in the final qualifier for the FIBA Asia Cup slated in the Clark bubble from June 16 to 20.
Both tournaments will run smack to the PBA schedule if and when the league gets to proceed with its planned opening of either late in May or early June.
Once the PBA is given the go signal to start play and Gilas decides to play a few games in the all-Filipino Cup which brings the number of teams to 13, the league will have to adjust its schedule and might see game days that feature a triple header.
“Double or triple header kasi malalaman natin kung makakapag-practice na sa atin ang Gilas na kahit na ilang mga games. So yun, ia-adjust natin (ang schedule),” said the commissioner.
Game days remain every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the single-round robin eliminations of the Philippine Cup.