SBP thinking of not sending a team to the wild card tournament
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the body that put up the first three Gilas Pilipinas squads that have gotten attention from all over the world because of its defy-all-odds attitude, is tinkering on the idea of not even sending a team to the wild card tournament for the last three Olympic slots.
Ricky Vargas, vice-chair of the SBP and basketball godfather Manny V. Pangilinan’s chief lieutenant, bared this to the Inquirer in a phone call Monday night while also taking a shot at the PBA for making another commitment which the league was not able to back up in the past.
“We don’t know the consequences (of not playing in the wild card) yet,” Vargas said. “But we are thinking of that as an option.”
Another option, should the penalty for skipping the event be so big, is for the SBP to put up a second Gilas Cadet program which it will send to play in that qualifying event, set in three countries from July 4-10 next year where the Philippines could be grouped with France, Canada, Serbia, etc.
There will be 18 teams vying for three Olympic berths, with the groupings to be known in November. The SBP is also not interested in hosting one of those wild card events.
“There’s no certainty of us getting the best players (from the PBA) and we have never been given time to prepare,” Vargas said.
Vargas was reacting to a report that came out on Sunday that the PBA is willing to make adjustments to its 41st Season, set to open on Oct. 18, to accommodate Gilas for the wild card event.
“Thank you very much if they want to help,” Vargas said. “But at the end of the day, the Commissioner’s Office has not been able to help us. They keep saying that we have the full support (of the league) and (yet) get two months of practice.
“And they cannot do anything if the players don’t like to play.”
Vargas said that the SBP is very appreciative of the support Gilas has been getting from this basketball-crazy country. And it is precisely because of this that the cage body is driven to take the sport to the highest level in the future.
“It’s hard to give hope to the Filipino people that we will use PBA players, and that we can form the best team possible,” Vargas went on.
“What is happening that it is us making it difficult for us (Filipinos) to succeed.”