Trouble brewing in Gilas camp?
It is likely that the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will not be implemented and will have tremendous effect on Gilas’ preparations for the Seaba (Southeast Asia Basketball Association) Championships in May.
Under the MOA, Gilas rookies in the pro league would be released by their mother teams for the national team training 60 days before the Seaba event.
It is also stipulated in the agreement that the 12 additional players would be made available to the pool 30 days before the start of the competition.
However, there are reports that the other PBA players would be released just 15 days before the tournament. The deadline for the submission of the final lineups is also 15 days before the Seaba starts.
The Philippines is hell bent on topping the Seaba joust because only the top team will earn a ticket to represent the Southeast Asia sub-zone in the Fiba Asia Cup in Beirut in August.
This is the reason why national coach Chot Reyes is in a rush to cut the Gilas pool from 25 to 15 after a three-day training camp held recently in Tagaytay City.
Since the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opened on Friday, Reyes wants to know as soon as possible the players available for training.
The original rookie list is made up of Mac Belo, Matthew Wright, Ed Daguiaog, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Carl Bryan Cruz, Kevin Ferrer, Russel Escoto, Jio Jalalon, Arnold Van Opstal, Von Pessumal and Al Gotladera.
The additions are June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Paul Lee, Jason Castro, Troy Rosario, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Raymond Almazan, Art dela Cruz, Bradwyn Guinto, LA Revilla, Norbert Torres and Jonathan Grey.
Reyes is also unsure whether naturalized player Andre Blatche will be able to join Gilas in time for the tournament.
Reports had it that Blatche’s team, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, is still in contention for the Chinese Basketball Association crown after topping the regular season with a 32-6 record.
Gilas is expected to face stiff opposition in the Seaba Championships from Thailand and Indonesia, both of which reportedly acquired naturalized players.
The Asia Cup is the first in a series of eliminators for the new Fiba format of competition for the 2019 World Cup in China.