THE PBA admitted it will feel the brunt once members of the soon-to-be-formed Gilas cadet program skip the next rookie draft, but insisted it is a sacrifice the league is willing to take for the sake of the national team.
PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa said the expected absence from the draft of blue-chip players who will be asked to stay as amateurs under the Gilas program will definitely hurt the quality of the 2016 rookie class.
But Narvasa made it clear that the move is perfectly fine with the pro league.
"Of course, we will be hurt by it because you’ll have stars going to the program,” said Narvasa. "But it is a sacrifice that everybody is willing to take because of the nature of the objective, which is to create a strong, winnable Philippine national team.”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is in the process of gaining long-term commitments from top amateurs who will be tasked to fly the flag in place of PBA stars when the Fiba World Cup qualifiers shift to a home-and-away format beginning next year.
Among the big names who are expected to sign on with the Gilas cadets program are Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, and Kevin Ferrer. Also being eyed is NBA D-League veteran Bobby Ray Parks.
While admitting that Ravena and Co. are bound to be the next stars in the PBA, Narvasa said he is looking forward to other less-heralded players seizing the opportunity to shine in the pro league.
“We have been waiting for the likes of Ravena, Ferrer, Belo, and Parks. But that’s part of the sacrifice. It gives way to the others. There are others who have proven themselves in the PBA. They are doing well in the PBA but they weren’t drafted,” Narvasa said.
The Gilas cadet program also has the full support of the PBA team owners, Narvasa said.
“I know for a fact that the owners are supporting this. It’s just a matter of really sitting down with the SBP and coming up with the program,” Narvasa said.