THE PBA and Gilas Pilipinas face a scheduling dilemma in the wake of the decision of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) to postpone its 2017 tournament from April to late May.
The Philippines is set to host the Seaba tournament from April 23 to 30, but the regional body was forced to postpone it to May 15-21 due to conflicts in the schedule of local leagues in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
However, the new schedule poses a major problem for the PBA, which is committed to release pro players belonging in Gilas' 25-man pool in the weeks leading up to the tournament under a memorandum of agreement signed with the SBP.
The PBA is scheduled to start its mid-season Commissioner's Cup on March 17 and the new Seaba schedule may force the 12 ballclubs to release some of their best players to the national team at a critical juncture in the fight for playoff spots.
The Seaba week will likely fall on the final stretch of the eliminations under the league's original schedule for the season, PBA officials confirmed.
According to a SPIN.ph source, the SBP has already requested the PBA to take a break during the Seaba tournament, which the national body plans to stage either in Manila or Cebu.
But more than the possible one-week break, what could hurt the pro league is its commitment to release Gilas cadets to the national team 60 days prior to a tournament - and the veteran players 15 days prior.
Under the new schedule, Gilas cadets led by top rookie Mac Belo will have to sit out the first two months of the Commissioner's Cup while veteran call-ups led by June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, and Calvin Abueva will have to miss games from the start of May.
The SBP officials have already been informed about the change in the schedule, a source said, but they have yet to sit down with PBA officials to sort out the problem.