UNLESS the PBA board bends backwards, Smart Gilas 2.0 coach Chot Reyes may end up taking a rag-tag team to the Fiba-Asia men's championship in Lebanon next year.
A Fiba circular received by Reyes on Monday has scheduled the Asian championships for August 1-11 in Lebanon, meaning the qualifying tournament for the 2014 world championships will begin just three days after the scheduled Game Seven of the PBA Finals.
With the board taking a "no-disruption" stance on the loaning of players to the national pool, Reyes fears the scheduling conflict has ruled out from the 2013 team most of the mainstays of the Smart Gilas team that won the Jones Cup in Taipei and finished fourth in the Fiba-Asia Cup in Tokyo this year.
"Basically, that takes out (players from) the Final Four teams," Reyes told Spin.ph when contacted for comment. "Kung sino-sino ang magiging available after that, you can only hope for the best."
Under Fiba rules, Reyes said the Philippines will most likely be asked to submit a 15-man lineup at least a month before the tournament, leaving him with no choice but to pick a pool of players whose teams won't likely reach the Final Four.
Using the current Philippine Cup as gauge, Reyes said most of the players on his wish list are on teams that are likely to advance to the semifinals like Talk 'N Text, San Mig Coffee, Rain or Shine, and Petron, with Globalport gunner Gary David the lone possible exception.
Granting most of the players will still be released to the national team, Reyes said the proximity of the Asian championships to the end of the PBA conference will leave them with so little time to prepare as a team.
"So unless the PBA board bends backwards and allows us to pick players from their mother teams and play in the (PBA) conference, we don't have that much choice, really," Reyes said.
Asked what his back-up plan would be, Reyes said without elaborating: "Kaya nga pinapalakas na namin ang cadet pool."