SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – PBA players will be back donning the Gilas Pilipinas jersey come the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al S. Panlilio brought up the need to tap anew the services of pro players for the opening window of the qualifiers in 2021 during the last PBA board meeting.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said the matter was discussed and he confirmed the board gave its blessings to loan the players anew for the national cause.
Panlilio also sits in the PBA board as representative of the Meralco franchise.
“Sinabihan kami ni (SBP) president Al Panlilio na baka puwedeng gumamit ng PBA players, and pinapayagan naman ng (board),” said Marcial.
“Kaya nga inusog na natin yung (opening). Dapat nga March tayo, pero inusog na natin kaya paatras na tayo ng paatras.”
Owing to the PBA bubble season, the Gilas team failed to tap the services of pro players in the latest window of the Asia Cup qualifiers in Bahrain.
The national team instead, made do with an all-cadet roster, which proceeded to win the Philippines’ two games against Thailand.
Marcial said he expects the SBP to formalize the request early next year, along with the possible arrangement the federation intends to have with the pro league in terms of the prospective rookies who will made themselves available for the March 14 draft.
“Kasabay na siguro yun (formal request) nung meeting namin tungkol sa drafting,” said the commissioner, adding the SBP should also inform the league of the specific players needed for the Gilas pool as early as possible since the PBA will be on a break during that time.
“Ang problema natin (kasi) yung mga players kung nandito sila,” Marcial said.
The Philippines has already made a bid to host the next window of the qualifiers with the same bubble set-up and facilities the PBA is using in completing its 45th season.
The next window is set Feb. 18 to 21 with Gilas Pilipinas to tangle with Indonesia on the 18th and South Korea on the 21st.