If it's hard for Gilas to get players in 2015, imagine how tough it would be under new Fiba format in 2017
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin has also expressed concern over the formation of the national team once the new Fiba format takes effect in 2017. Jerome Ascano

IF it’s already hard to tap PBA players to suit up for the national team now, imagine how difficult it will be starting two years from now.

With Fiba expected to undergo major changes in its schedule and format in 2017, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will find itself in an even tougher situation in terms of securing commitments from pro players to see action for Gilas Pilipinas.

The new setup will see the usual qualifying tournaments like the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship scrapped and instead see the national team play in home-and-away qualifiers that will be held quarterly in November, February, June, and September.

The new format, patterned after the qualifying of the football World Cup under Fifa, will definitely create a schedule conflict with the PBA, which holds its games from October to July.

“So this is a huge issue for Philippine basketball, which is what we’re concerned about,” Gilas coach Tab Baldwin admitted. “But it’s a huge issue for the world of basketball as well

“Imagine all the NBA players, in November, in February. You think they’re going to stop the NBA for the US team? Imagine all the Euroleague players.”

PBA president and CEO Chito Salud earlier stressed during the league’s annual planning session in Japan an urgent need to meet with the SBP to discuss the matter.

[See Salud eyes meeting of all team owners to seek united stand for Gilas]

Asked how the development will change on how the national team is formed, Baldwin offered no answer, obviously focused on the task at hand, which is to steer the national team to the gold medal in the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship next month.

“Boy, I wish there was an answer for that (how the national team is formed).” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos