TOKYO – The PBA wants to sit down with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) as soon as possible in light of the expected major changes in the Fiba structure and calendar of events starting in 2017.
Chito Salud, the PBA president and CEO, on Tuesday said the league is aware of the adjustment in competition schedule, format, and the re-zoning being done by the world’s governing body for the sport which will see the Philippines and the rest of Asia being grouped under Asia-Oceania.
The qualifying format will also likely see Gilas going through not one but four qualifiers in 2017 - a change that may severely affect the PBA calendar if the league continues to lend players to the national team.
As agreed upon by the league board during its annual planning session at the Tokyo Hilton here, the PBA finds an urgent need to meet with SBP officials and ask about its plans and programs once Fiba starts implementing those changes.
The planned meeting is also the league’s way of assuring the local basketball federation about its unrelenting support to the national team.
“The PBA remains open to helping, but we need to have all the facts before us, before the league, particularly the team owners, get on board,” said Salud.
“What’s the new set up? What’s the new format for qualifying? So let’s see how the PBA can help in a manner that would be the least hurtful to the league.”
The league has been lending its players to the national team since 1990, initially with the Asian Games, and later on, with the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship, which serves as the qualifier for both the Olympics and the World Cup.
But all that will undergo changes as per the new FIBA calendar and format that takes effect two years from now.
Under the new set-up, basketball powers Australia and New Zealand will be merged with the rest of the Asian countries to form part of the FIBA-Asia Oceania as it sees action in home-and-away qualifiers that would be played in November, February, and June of each year.
They Said It!
“Manny V. Pangilinan, SBP President, lost P450,000,000 to bid FIBA World Cup. Why? because he wants all Filipinos to witnessed live how different countries plays Basketball. Because he knew how Filipinos are very passionate in this sport. Because he is a Filipino. I'm just wondering why PBA are looking for an agreement with SBP? Only SBP is asking or they are now begging to allow other teams to lend their players. This is not for SBP, this is for the Filipino People who supports and loves PBA and Basketball!" - BenBen Dizon
The schedule obviously overlaps the playing calendar of the league, which starts from October and ends in July.
“We need to study that. It looks like it’s going to be on a quarterly basis, so that means a quarterly disruption of the league,” Salud noted.
League operations chief Rickie Santos related to Spin.ph that it’s not only the PBA which will be affected by the new FIBA calendar.
“Maski ang NBA tatamaan din, sapul kasi sa season nila,” he said of the world’s premier cage league which holds its games from October to June.
Concrete steps should definitely be made by both leagues, and the PBA wants to get it done as early as possible for it to make the necessary adjustments.
“We need to find out from our team owners and stakeholders how to address the situation, how to look and move forward. There are solutions to that,” Salud pointed out.
“There have worked several arrangements in the past, we need to revisit that and if that doesn’t prove acceptable to the stakeholders today, those arrangements or at least the modified versions of those arrangements, then we need to come up with a new one.”
League chairman Robert Non on the other hand, said the SBP could again consider the formula that worked well for Northern Consolidated Corp. and later with Gilas Pilipinas 1.0, or perhaps, have an agreement among member teams not to draft players who are part of the national training pool for such a period of time.
“Dapat gawan talaga ng konkretong solusyon yan. The PBA can always work hand in hand (with the SBP). All team owners are willing to help in the formation of the national team,” said Non, adding such move only emphasized the league’s total support to the national cause contrary to public perception that team owners are hesitant to lend players to the Philippine team.