SBP, PBA discuss Gilas cadets options
THE SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the PBA explored on Wednesday night several options that will ensure the easy availability of a strong national team while letting the pro league grow as the country’s top sports entertainment.
Al Panlilio, who will soon replace basketball godfather Manny V. Pangilinan as SBP head, and PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa sought to find a win-win situation for the national five and the pro league with the revival of the Gilas Cadet program.
They looked into the suggestion of Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu to have the best amateurs in the land—who are being eyed to form the core of the Cadet program—join the coming PBA Draft but remain with Gilas until released by the national team.
“I told Fred that it’s an excellent suggestion,” Panlilio told the
“I think it will be a combination of the options, but details (remain) to be threshed out. All I can say is that we need a core team that can be augmented (and) refreshed with talent available after first batch is identified.”
The first batch of talent will most likely have former UAAP stars Keifer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo and Bobby Ray Parks. According to the SBP, the players will sign long-term contracts to ensure they are available for national duty anytime.
The possibility that Ravena, Parks and the other top amateurs might pass up the PBA Draft has alarmed the pro league, which needs an infusion of fresh talents every year to grow its fan clout.
Uytengsu had suggested that these players join the Draft and be selected by teams, but cannot play for the league until the Cadet program releases them.