SAYING the PBA and the national team share mutual interests, league chairman Mon Segismundo has vowed to push for moves that would help Gilas Pilipinas in its preparations for the Fiba World Cup in Spain as well as a planned stint in the Asian Games.
Segismundo, Meralco's representative to the board, said he and the league's governors will look for ways to help Gilas as it sets a target of a Top 16 finish in its return to the world basketball stage for the first time in 35 years as well as a shot at the Asiad gold medal in Incheon, South Korea.
Although no timetable has been set, Segismundo is hoping to seek the board's nod on his plans as well as the bid to send Gilas to Incheon at the soonest possible time.
“More or less, we’ve mapped out our plan for presentation to the board of governors,” Seguismundo told Spin.ph on Thursday. “I think we’ve agreed that there’s a mutual interest shared between the PBA and Gilas, that of being in the top 16 in Fiba (World Cup) and for us to be a championship contender in Incheon.”
On November 13, Commissioner Chito Salud bared an ambitious plan to send Gilas to the Asiad just days after its stint in the Fiba World Cup slated from August 30 to September 14 in Spain. [For full story, see Salud bares plan to send Gilas to Asiad straight from World Cup]
However, Gilas coach Chot Reyes has rued that under the season schedule laid down by the board this season, the nationals will only be left with two weeks to focus completely for the World Cup given that the league season is slated to end on August 15.
[For full story, see Reyes left to rue two-week Gilas buildup for World Cup]
Segismundo assured the PBA board is also in the process of finding ways to maximize Gilas’ preparation without necessarily affecting the league’s season schedule.
“We want to maximize the preparation time of Gilas. But at the same time, we want to also achieve both our objective, which is, for the PBA to adhere to its (season) schedule and optimize the preparation time (for the Fiba World Cup),” he said.
Seguismundo, who also serves as the senior vice president for human resources and corporate services of Meralco, declined to comment if the board is ready to revise its 'one-player-per-team' policy with regards to the composition of the World Cup-bound Gilas team.
“We want to field the best team in Fiba and we want the board of governors to also own that. But that (one-player-per-team contribution) is still to be discussed with the board,” he said.
“For now, we’re still trying to find the best time to table that (Gilas’ participation in Fiba World Cup and Asian Games) and make it our agenda,” added the Meralco board representative.
Gilas Pilipinas finished a strong second in last August’s Fiba-Asia men’s championship in Manila, which enabled the Philippines to capture one of three Asian slots in next year’s world championship.