GILAS Pilipinas’ buildup for this year's Fiba World Cup and Asian Games was given a boost after the PBA board of governors on Thursday unanimously approved to cut short the pro league's 39th season from a projected ending of August 15 to July 15.
Commissioner Chito Salud said under a board resolution agreed upon on Thursday during its meeting at the PBA office, the finals of the ongoing 39th season's final two conferences will be shortened from the original best-of-seven series to a best-of-five format.
They Said It!
“(The PBA board) have also assured me that if there are any additional players that I would acquire, they will take it to their respective owners and that they (new players to be requested) can be considered to be part of the pool of the Gilas team." - Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes
The adjustment should give Gilas one-and-a-half months to prepare for the country's first stint in the world championships since 1978 as well as the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The PBA is also moving back its opening for the 2014-2015 season to October 19 to ensure that the Gilas national squad could prepare and play unhampered in the Asiad from September 19 to October 4.
"The PBA and the board of governors have agreed to compress the schedule from the original August 13 finish to as early as July 15," Salud told sports scribes shortly after the meeting. "We'll make the second and third conference Finals series instead of best-of-seven (series) to best-of-five.”
Prior to banding together for training camp, members of the Gilas pool will start once-a-week practices immediately after the Philippine Cup, which is now in its playoff stage.
Also, the board has vowed to do its best to provide additional players Reyes requires aside from the mainstays of the Gilas team that finished second to Iran in the last Fiba-Asia championships in Manila.
"More players, if Chot will require that, will be provided. Then, we'll move back the opening of the season to October 19 for the 2015 season," Salud said.
Reyes, who steered the Gilas national squad to a runner-up finish in last year's Fiba-Asia men's championships in Manila, said he was happy that the board adjusted its season schedule to ensure Gilas more time to prepare.
"The board reiterated its full support to the (Gilas) program and they generously cut back the schedule by one month, affording us, the earliest July 15 to start practicing fully as a team and even setting (the opening) next year back to October 19, to allow us to play not only in the World Cup but in the Asian Games as well," Reyes said.
The fiery national coach also mentioned that should he plan to acquire a few players to the original 12-man Gilas Pilipinas that participated in last year's Fiba-Asia men's championships, the board is willing to give way to his request.
"They (board) have also assured me that if there are any additional players that I would acquire, they will take it to their respective owners and that they (new players to be requested) can be considered to be part of the pool of the Gilas team," he added.