VETERAN coach Yeng Guiao has backed a proposal to allow Gilas Pilipinas cadets to join the coming PBA Rookie Draft, saying it will clear some of the contentious issues clouding the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' decision to turn to amateur players ahead of the qualifiers for the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
Amid concerns over a shallow draft class following the revival of the original Gilas program, Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu on Tuesday proposed that amateur standouts who will be made to sign long-term commitments with the national team be allowed to join the next rookie draft.
These players, Uytengsu said, can be drafted by the PBA teams and allowed to stay with the Gilas program for as long as the national team needs them, after which they can join their mother ballclubs in the pro league with the chance to sign contracts beyond the rookie minimum.
The move can address concerns over the coming draft and at the same time sustain the cooperation between the SBP and the PBA with regards to the national team, the outspoken Alaska owner added.
On Wednesday, Uytengsu's proposal got the backing of Guiao, who said the move could lift the suspicion hanging over the heads of SBP officials headed by Manny V. Pangilinan, who, incidentally, also own three teams in the PBA in Tropang TNT, Meralco and NLEX.
Not a few fans have questioned the timing of SBP's decision to revert to the Gilas cadet program. Unless any more trades happen between now and the draft, MVP-owned teams will only have two middle-order picks in the first round compared to four for the rival San Miguel Corp. organization.
Such doubts on the MVP group's intention can be erased if members of the next Gilas cadet pool, projected to include college stars like Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer and Roger Pogoy, and NBA D-League veteran Ray Parks, are allowed to join the draft, Guiao said.
"I'm okay with it," Guiao, coming off a championship with Rain or Shine, said when asked about Uytengsu's proposal. "I can't speak for (Rain or Shine) management, but I don't see any problem with it."
Guiao added: "Problema kasi right now, iniisip ng iba na kaya ngayon ginawa 'yan ay dahil walang draft rights (sa first round) ang MVP group at ire-release nila (ang mga Gilas cadets) kapag may mga mataas na silang picks.
"That (proposal) will lift some of that suspicion."
Rain or Shine isn't bound to suffer from the Gilas cadets revival since it is bound to be relegated to a late first-round pick in the next draft with the success it has had this season.
But Guiao said the likely absence of top prospects from the next rookie class will be a big hit to other PBA teams which had laid down programs to build up their lineups through the 2016 draft.
"'Yung mga teams na two years ago, three years ago nag-plan na mag-build up through the 2016 draft, 'yan ang mga kawawa dyan," the multi-titled coach said. "That's unfair to them."