SAN Miguel Corp. has batted for the postponement of the PBA's third conference and a longer Commissioner's Cup to make room for the national team's preparation and participation in the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship in August.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud has gained the board's approval to tweak the league schedule to give Gilas Pilipinas a longer preparation for the August 1-11 showpiece which the country is hosting for the first time in 40 years, although he has yet to lay down his plan.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Eala said San Miguel wants the league's third and final conference of the year - the Governors' Cup - to be staged until after the Fiba-Asia championships. Under the original PBA schedule, the Governors' Cup was supposed to end in late July.
However, Eala said San Miguel wants the league to extend the mid-season conference, the Commissioner's Cup, to maximize the exposure of the teams in the months leading up to the Fiba-Asia.
"Fate of 3rd conference still up in the air. SMC position is to postpone it till after Fiba Asia in order to give Gilas ample time to prepare," said Eala through his Twitter account @nolieala.
"However, we would like to amend 2nd conference format to mirror 1st conference. So, longer elims, quarters n semis to max exposure. Still enough time for Gilas."
The Commisssioner's Cup is set to begin on Friday, but Eala insisted there is still enough time to change its schedule and prolong its duration if the pro league acts swiftly.
"If the PBA will act quickly, 2nd conf sched can still be changed. No need to rush the sched. And fans are given what they want," the former league commissioner said.
A check with the league showed the Commissioner's Cup is scheduled to end on April 28 at the latest, after which the All-Star games will be staged the following weekend.
According to PBA operations manager Rickie Santos, extending the Commissioner's Cup schedule to mirror the same duration of the last Philippine Cup - just as Eala had suggested - would add another month and a week to its length, leading to an early June finish.
That would leave Chot Reyes and Gilas less than two months to prepare as a complete unit for the Fiba-Asia tournament - buildup which Eala said in a succeeding tweet is more than enough.
Responding to a follower's question on the length of Gilas' preparation, Eala tweeted: "IMHO (In my humble opinion), just one month prep is enough. Two months is a luxury. Three a vacation. :-)"
Reyes, in previous meetings with league officials, said he hopes to get all his players practicing together in May at the latest. He has also batted for Gilas to feature in the mid-season All-Star classic, which would mean additional tune-up games for the team.