NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes will make a request to get both June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos from PBA ballclub Petron as he bids to form the best team possible for Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship in August.
Reyes had been unable to enlist the two Petron players since he took over the Gilas duties from Rajko Toroman last year, but he is now bent on making a fresh bid for the pair as he embarks on his most important battle as national coach, a high-ranking basketball official confirmed.
San Miguel Corp., through sports director Noli Eala, has already offered to release Ginebra guard LA Tenorio, San Mig forward Marc Pingris and the 6-9 Fajardo to the national team that has been given two months to prepare for the Asian showpiece after a rejig of the PBA's season schedule.
Gilas is now hoping SMC bigwigs would agree to throw in Santos as well, the wiry 6-3 player having long expressed his desire to play for flag and country.
"Coach Chot will make the request," a top basketball official who asked that he not be named told Spin.ph. "And we're hoping the request will be granted."
Reyes will announce the composition of his Fiba-Asia team on Thursday, shortly after a special meeting by the pro league's board. The five-time PBA Coach of the Year is also set to sit down with Commissioner Chito Salud on Wednesday to discuss the parameters of the league's support to the team.
Sought for comment, Reyes declined to confirm or deny the fresh bid for Santos, saying the composition of the team will still be dependent on his meeting with Salud on Wednesday.
"All I've been told so far is we have two months (to prepare)," the multi-titled coach said. "But I still have no guidelines on how many players I can name to the pool and if the one-player-per-PBA-team rule still applies."
According to Spin.ph sources, Reyes ideally wants the green light to name a 15-man team with both Fajardo and Santos in it.
Asked about the two-month preparation for the Asian tournament which the country is hosting for the first time in 40 years, Reyes said: "It's better than two weeks (the length of preparation of Gilas' Jones Cup-winning team last year) but three months is more ideal."