Bolts to represent PH in Fiba Asia Champions Cup
LAS Vegas—The Philippine Basketball Association is bending over backwards to accommodate the National team program that will field a pro selection even in lower-tier regional events like the Southeast Asian Games next year.
Proof that the PBA has opened its doors to support the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is the participation of Meralco in the Fiba Asia Champions Cup starting Sept. 27 in Bangkok, thus altering the Bolts’ schedule in the ongoing Governors’ Cup.
The Meralco Bolts, who will have a second import after Allen Durham, will go up against fellow club teams Alvark Tokyo (Japan), Liaoning Leopards (China), the SK Knights (South Korea), Al Riyadi (Lebanon), Petrochimi (Iran), Pauian (Taipei) and the Mono Vampire (Thailand).
The Philippines has four titles in the Asian club championship for professional basketball, previously known as the Asian Basketball Confederation.
After a long meeting Saturday (Sunday, PH time), the league’s board of governors reached an understanding on how the SBP will schedule the Philippine participation in international events.
And after getting confirmation of all the tournaments, the PBA assured it will suspend or adjust its conferences to accommodate the National five.
“The PBA is open and very supportive,” said SBP president Al Panlilio, also the board representative of Meralco. “That’s a big plus. The board is very open and wants to help.”
The league’s board came in full force for its annual planning session—Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, San Miguel Beer’s Robert Non, Magnolia’s Rene Pardo, Rain or Shine’s Mamerto Mondragon, Columbian’s Bobby Rosales, NLEX’s Rod Franco, Blackwater’s Silliman Sy, NorthPort’s Eric Arejola, Phoenix’s Raymond Zorilla and Barangay Ginebra’s Alfrancis Chua.
“The partnership between the SBP and the PBA has really strengthened,” said PBA chair Ricky Vargas of TNT. “Not only are the PBA teams supporting [the national program], but even the players have expressed desire to be part of the pool.”
There are many tournaments lined up for the PH cagers, who will participate in two more windows of the World Cup Qualifying in order to make the tournament proper slated Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 in China next year.
“Commissioner (Willie Marcial) will fix the calendar of the PBA so we can play with the best team possible for those tournaments,” Panlilio said.
The Philippines will jointly host the 2023 World Cup with Japan and Indonesia.
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