SMART Gilas-Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is on the same page with Fiba officials who plan to make the World Basketball Championship the preeminent cage tournament in the globe rather than the Olympics.
Reyes said the availability of more slots in the World Championship, now known as the Fiba Basketball World Cup, gives the country a better chance of qualifying compared to the Olympics, which usually allots just a single berth for Asia.
"I think it’s good. The premiere basketball competition should be the World Cup and not the Olympics, just like in football,” said Reyes, who was with the members of the entire national team on Friday in Pampanga where they reached out and distributed relief goods to families affected by the massive flooding that hit the province.
A proposal is currently on the table setting an age limit in the Olympic basketball competition for men at 23-and-under starting in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. NBA commissioner David Stern, along with other team owners and Fiba officials, are reportedly behind the ploy in their bid to make the World Championship the major international basketball tournament in the world.
NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James are all against the idea of putting an age limit in the Olympics.
Reyes, however, sees no problem with that.
“In the Fiba-World, Asia has three slots, while in the Olympics it’s only one. Thus, Fiba-World is more representative of the real basketball universe,” said Reyes, who’s in his second tour of duty as national coach over the last five years.
The country is bidding to host the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship next year – along with Qatar and Lebanon – as the tournament serves as the qualifier to the 2014 World Championship in Spain.
Behind the Powerade-PH team of coach Yeng Guiao, the Filipinos advanced to the quarterfinals of the FIBA-Asia tilt in Tianjin, China, but was eliminated by Jordan in the knockout phase of the meet that offered three berths to the 2010 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Fiba-Basketball World Cup is also the same tournament where the country placed a historic third in 1954 behind a team backstopped by Caloy Loyzaga and the late great Lauro `The Fox’ Mumar. It was the best finish ever by an Asian team in the meet.