A CONTROVERSY is brewing in Gilas Pilipinas' buildup for the Fiba-Asia championships over the refusal of Alaska to allow Sonny Thoss to practice with the national team until after the end of the Aces' campaign in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
The PBA board had agreed to lend at least one player per team to the Gilas squad vying in the August 1-11 tournament in Manila serving as a qualifier for next year's world championships in Spain, while giving member ballclubs the freedom to release more than one player if they want to.
The teams, acting as a body, also agreed to allow the players chosen by national coach Chot Reyes to attend practices that start with once-a-week sessions before escalating in frequency in the months leading up to the Asian showpiece which the country is hosting for the first time in 40 years.
But apparently, an internal agreement had given an exception to Alaska, which, even before Reyes made his selection public, had already informed both Gilas officials and the board that it will only allow its players to join Gilas practices after its last game in the Commissioner's Cup.
The agreement had been kept under wraps, perhaps for fear that it could cause another strain on the already fragile alliance among PBA teams over the Gilas buildup.
But tweets over the touchy issue has revealed simmering emotions over the Alaska stand.
On Thursday, no less than PLDT top honcho and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan waded into the dispute, posting this intriguing tweet on his Twitter account @iamMVP:
Contacted by Spin.ph, Reyes declined comment on the issue, saying whatever he says will do nothing good to Gilas' preparations. He also refused to comment on Thoss' status with the team.
Thoss, the main back-up of Marcus Douthit in the Gilas team that won the Jones Cup in Taipei and finished fourth in the Fiba-Asia Cup last year, attended the national team's first practice last Monday at the Philsports Arena.
It is not yet known if he has gotten the green light from Alaska to show up for Gilas' next practice on Monday.