PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president and PBA chairman Ricky Vargas respects the decision of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to pull out its participation in the 2018 Asian Games.
Speaking via phone patch to reporters at the PBA office on Friday, Vargas said he understands SBP’s call not to send teams to the Asian Games at the last minute with the basketball federation now focusing on the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
“I appreciate what the SBP is doing. They are looking forward to strengthening our future instead of looking at all this current and try to manage what is current. Naiintindihan ko rin ang disappointment ng tao but this is the time now to look at long term plans than focus on short term plans,” said Vargas.
The SBP late Thursday night decided it will no longer send a men’s basketball team to the Asian Games in Jakarta due the inability of the squad to form a competitive team.
Instead, the SBP said it will now turn its attention on its appeal on the sanctions Fiba imposed on the Philippines for its role in the brawl against Australia in the Fiba Basketball World Cup qualifiers and forming a competitive squad for the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
Initially, Rain or Shine formally agreed to represent the country in the 2018 Asian Games during Thursday afternoon’s board meeting, but that was ditched hours later following a meeting among SBP officials led by president Al Panlilio, Manny V. Pangilinan, national head coach Yeng Guiao, and assistant Caloy Garcia.
Vargas said he supports the decision of the SBP to build up for the future instead of focusing on the present like the 2018 Asian Games, even though it has drawn flak from the basketball-loving public.
“For reasons other than the composition of the team as stated by SBP, they thought na maybe it’s best not to send a team. ‘Yun lang ang naging dahilan doon. It’s not because of the team composition. It’s not about other issues. It’s all about a concept in building up, taking one step back and building up for the future,” said Vargas.
“I think it was a difficult decision, maybe unpopular, but they have to make that decision,” said Vargas.