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PBA players, coaches ruled out of November Fiba window

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 07:21 PM October 14, 2020
Gilas Pilipinas

Gilas Pilipnas during training on February 20, 2020. INQUIRER PHOTO/TRISTAN TAMAYO

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin has ruled out PBA players and coaches being part of the Philippine team in the November window of the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.

The PBA is already in the middle of its Philippine Cup restart which is being played inside a bubble environment in Clark, Pampanga. The conference could last until the second week of December.

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The situation has prompted Baldwin and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to explore other feasible options as far as the composition of the team goes.

“We don’t expect the PBA bubble to be broken in any way. You know at this point, we are certainly ruling out the inclusion of PBA players and coaches,” Baldwin said Tuesday on the Sports Page. “And that means we have to look either look at players who are overseas that are domiciled overseas which again are gonna be difficult because they more than likely have schedules going on right now.”

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“Or look into our college ranks, which is probably the most likely and the one that coach Ryan and I are spending most of our time working on right now,” he added.

Right now, the SBP only has five players at its disposal in Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Matt and Mike Nieto and Allyn Bulanadi, who were all taken in the special draft and loaned to the Gilas Pilipinas program.

Thirdy Ravena could also be part of the team, although, his availability will depend on whether his stint in the Japanese B.League will allow him to participate.

Ravena led the Philippines in its 100-70 drubbing of Indonesia last February to begin Gilas’ campaign in the qualifiers.

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Last month, Fiba announced that the next two windows of all its continental cup qualifiers will be staged in a bubble-like concept.

“To be quite honest with you, we were all surprised. But if you’re really rooting for the game to restart, it is one way for us to go back to a little normalcy, we are excited about the whole thing, we’re really hoping for basketball to come back not only in the NBA, we’re also rooting for the PBA to restart and also Fiba,” Ryan Gregorio, special assistant to SBP President Al Panlilio, said.

“But the thing that surprised us the most is the calendar we saw that it’s gonna happen in November and the other one in February so we’re scrambling to form a decent team if it’s gonna push through next month.”

The composition of the team, which includes naming the next head coach with interim Mark Dickel with TNT in the PBA bubble, is not the only pressing concern for the SBP as of the moment.

“When are we allowed to practice again by the IATF. I think that’s the biggest issue we have right now,” Gregorio said.

“Players are ready to play but are we allowed to play as a team? That is the question that we are waiting for an answer up to this point,” added Gregorio, who mentioned veteran coach Jong Uichico is likely to be part of the coaching staff.

Gilas is in Group A with South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.

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TAGS: FIBA, Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, Indonesia, PBA, Philippines, Ryan Gregorio, SBP, South Korea, Tab Baldwin, Thailand
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