ALASKA team owner Wilfred Uytengsu is batting for a return to the PBA two-conference format to give Gilas Pilipinas more time to prepare for tournaments while lessening the wear and tear on players.
Uytengsu told Spin.ph he already relayed the suggestion to outgoing commissioner Chito Salud following his meeting with Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin.
The team owner described his sit-down meeting with Baldwin as "very fruitful."
“My meeting with Tab was very cordial. We exchanged views on the duty to the national team and the obligations of the PBA to the fans,” said Uytengsu.
They Said It!
“Kahit para ndi sa preparation ng Gilas yung pag alis ng isang conference. biro mo sa isang taon 3 championships? anung kalokohan yun. oo onti lang ang teams pero nagiging masyado ng maiksi ang isang conference, isang beses mo lng makakalaban ang isang team. pag bad start ang teams, mahirap makahabol. mapagiiwanan agad sa standings. atleast man lang sana double round, para may 22 games each bawat team sa isang conference. tapos 2 conference lang, all filipino at import laden. mahihirapan na mag 3 conference season pag naging 14 na ang teams." tuffgong
The former national swimmer said the three-conference season that spans almost 10 months puts a tremendous strain on players, especially those who are called up to the national team.
“Similarly we need to be mindful of the wear and tear that is placed on the players who are selected as they end up going year round with virtually no recovery (period),” said Uytengsu, who is a top triathlete.
“This impacts their ability to perform and potentially compromises their health. Ultimately, this is a 'lose-lose' proposition,” he added.
Before Salud took over in 2010, the pro league adopted the two-conference format under former commissioner Noli Eala from 2005, precisely to provide a window for the national team's training.
The Alaska big boss is more worried about the wear and tear on players, who have to split time training with their mother ballclubs for three conferences and the Gilas team in the short offseason.
“For this reason and for as long as the PBA will be called upon to serve the national team in certain competitions, I have advocated the return back to a two conference format,” he said.
“This way, we can schedule around key international competitions, allow for better preparation, and still give our players some recovery time,” he said.
Asked about Salud's response to his suggestion, Uytengsu can only shrug his shoulders.
“The Commissioner was present during our talks but I don't know if this approach was given any further consideration,” he said.
League chairman Patrick Gregorio is receptive, telling Spin.ph that the board can discuss Uytengsu's suggestion during its annual planning session in August.
Uytengsu's team has long backed the national team, even sacrificing its quest for a second league grand slam in 1998 to lend former coach Tim Cone and its core of players to the Asian Games-bound Centennial Team.
The franchise however, came under criticism from fans after Sonny Thoss, JV Casio, and Calvin Abueva failed to join the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship and the Fiba World Cup.