NOW the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is even ready to tweak the 2013 Annual All Stars for the sake of national cause.
Already penciled from May 1-6 in Digos, Davao Del Sur, commissioner Chito Salud bared to Spin.ph the league is now revising the format of the meet’s centerpiece event to turn into matches that could benefit Gilas Pilipinas' buildup for the Fiba-Asia championships.
Instead of the usual set-up pitting the Rookies, Sophomores, and Juniors against the Veterans, Salud said his office is now bent on forming a PBA selection that will play Chot Reyes’ Gilas team in the main event.
Reyes is expected to name his 15-man roster on Thursday. Those who will be left out will be automatically be considered for the All-Star selection to be formed by the league.
“Para naman hindi mabakante `yung team natin at mabigyan rin sila ng high-level competition, bubuo tayo ng 12-man lineup na PBA selection,” said the amiable commissioner.
Salud likewise revealed the league is studying the option of holding regular games between Gilas Pilipinas and the PBA selection in the run-up to the August 1-11 event serving as the qualifier for the 2014 world championships in Spain.
“Open din tayo to allow our teams to play with the national team in front of the PBA crowd,” Salud hinted. “At least, hindi rin masyado ma-miss ng fans `yung mga favorite players nila.”
Salud plans to hold the matches on game days vacated following the re-scheduling of the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
Meanwhile, Chinese Basketball Association Shanghai Sharks owned by retired NBA star Yao Ming will be the first foreign team to play Gilas-Pilipinas in an exhibition series set May 6-8.
Aside from this, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), under president Manny V. Pangilinan, is also arranging a pocket invitational tournament in the first week of June wherein Fiba Asia-bound countries will be invited to see action.
Among the early countries which reportedly indicated interest are Qatar, Lebanon, and Jordan.
“We are doing this all for one aim, give pride to our country,” Salud stressed.
The PBA on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the Governors’ Cup from its original date on May 12 to give way to the training and preparation of the national team for the Asian showpiece.
The league board approved the moving of the season-ending tournament to August 14-October 28 while extending the run of the Commissioner's Cup until the final week of May.