Wilfred Uytengsu offers 'win-win solution' to Gilas dilemma: 'Let cadets join PBA draft'
Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu has weighed in ahead of a meeting between the PBA and SBP over the latter's plan to revert to the original Gilas cadet program. Jaime Campos

ALASKA owner Wilfred Uytengsu on Tuesday offered a 'win-win' solution to the dilemma confronting the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) over the formation of a new Gilas cadet pool in light of Fiba's shift to a home-and-away qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup.

Speaking ahead of a meeting between PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and SBP officials set on Wednesday, Uytengsu proposed that all amateur standouts who are set to be signed to long-term contracts by Gilas be allowed to join the next pro league rookie draft.

However, he proposed that these drafted players, while receiving compensation for their mother teams, will be allowed to stay with the Gilas cadet pool for three years or any duration agreed upon by the PBA and SBP, before joining their pro league teams at the end of their national team service.

"How do we create a win-win (solution?) By mandating that all amateur players that will sign contracts with the Gilas Cadets will have to join the PBA draft.  These players, however, will not be eligible to play in the PBA until  their contracts with Gilas is completed, or the team decides to release them to their PBA teams," said Uytengsu.

"Upon being drafted, players will be paid a monthly allowance of P50,000  a month by the mother team, augmenting the salary from the national team. This allows the team that drafted the player to retain the player’s rights," the outspoken Alaska team owner added.

The SBP has decided to revert to the original Gilas cadet concept following Fiba's decision to shift to a home-and-away qualifying format for the 2019 World Cup that put in doubt the continued participation of PBA players in the national team program.

However, SBP's plan to sign the top players coming out of the college ranks, among them Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer and Ray Parks, has raised fears of a shallow draft for the PBA next season.

Uytengsu said his proposal can heighten the interest for this year's PBA draft and at the same time allow PBA ballclubs to continue to support the Gilas program through their drafted players.

Under Uytengsu's proposal, Gilas players will be allowed to re-sign with their PBA mother teams for maximum contracts at the end of their tenure with the national team.

On the other hand, the SBP will be tasked to shoulder the cost in the event of any injuries to the players during their tour of duty with Gilas, Uytengsu added.

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