The Philippines will be represented by the best in the Fiba Asia World Championship qualifier in August at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Philippine Basketball Association made sure of this yesterday after requiring all the league’s 10 teams to lend at least one player to the Smart Gilas Pilipinas national five in its bid to finish at least third and qualify for the world championship in Spain next year.
The PBA board, in a meeting, also allowed commissioner Chito Salud to tweak the season-ending Governors’ Cup schedule to give the national team ample time to prepare for the Aug. 1 to 11 Fiba joust.
“Yes, we will shorten the third conference,” said Salud. “We will alter it as much as practicable, shorten it to give more time for the national team to train.”
Originally, the Governors’ Cup has a May 12 to July 28 play period.
Salud is also scheduled to thresh out with national coach Chot Reyes the final schedule of practices and tournaments of Smart Gilas prior to the Fiba event.
Included in this item are stints abroad, including the Jones Cup in Taipei where the Philippines is the defending champion. With the Fiba Asia event opening on Aug. 1, the Jones Cup was moved to July 6 to 14.
Reyes, who is in Hong Kong with the Smart Gilas cadet crew for a tournament, had said in earlier interviews that he planned to take the team to tough European competitions.
Reyes particularly wants players like Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze and Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee.