AMID growing concern over Gilas Pilipinas’ short preparation time for this year’s Fiba World Cup and Asian Games, PBA chairman Mon Segismundo said they are inviting national coach Chot Reyes to attend the league board's first meeting of the year on January 30.
Seguismundo said the PBA is well aware of Reyes’ concern over the time given to Gilas to prepare for the two tournaments under the original schedule laid down by the board, which is why they are putting the national team in the main agenda for the next board meeting.
“We’re going to invite coach Chot (in the board meeting) and we’ll be laying down the plan for the next eight to nine months,” Segismundo told Spin.ph. “And immediately after January 30, we will go down to work.”
Voicing his support the Gilas cause, Segismundo said part of this “work” involves discussing the importance of sending the “best players in Spain and South Korea."
“What’s clear is we have to make sure we have the best players in Barcelona (Spain) and Incheon and we want to maximize the preparation time,” he said.
Segismundo, who also serves as the board representative of the Meralco Bolts, declined to comment on the possibility of adding a few new faces to the Gilas lineup, saying that is the “prerogative of Reyes."
Reyes has asked to be given a free hand in the selection of the team, seeking to go beyond the 'one player per team' policy laid down by the board in the run-up to last year's Fiba-Asia championships.
Fans have also spoken up and called on the board to allow the best players to suit up for Gilas, saying the national team should take precedent over the PBA and its teams.
“I think there is a commitment to help the core and we operate on the basis of the pool,” Segismundo said. “Now, it’s the prerogative of the coach to tinker with the (Gilas) lineup. I think the team in (the Fiba-Asia men’s championships) Manila was an excellent team.”
Under the league's original schedule this season, Gilas’ team of professional players will only begin their training camp for the Fiba World Cup as well as the Asian Games in August and all the players will only be made available at the end of the season-ending Governors Cup.
That is obviously not enough in the eyes of Reyes, especially with the Fiba World Cup set to unfold on August 30 in Spain and the Asian Games from September 19 to October 4.
[For full story, see Reyes pleads for more time for Gilas buildup for Fiba World Cup]
Segismundo said the pro league is hopeful that the Philippines, which is returning to the Fiba World Cup for the first time since 1978, will make it to the top 16 in the world basketball showpiece, as well as finish in the top two in the Incheon Asiad.