Gilas Pilipinas eyeing PBA pocket tilts, others
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) intends to plunge Gilas Pilipinas into as many tournaments as it can to aid the Nationals’ build-up for major events lined up in the next five months.
“What we usually lack in our preparations—especially whenever we play internationally—is competition [experience]. Scrimmages will no longer cut it,” Sonny Barrios, the SBP’s executive director, said in Filipino during a radio interview with fellow former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) chief Noli Eala on Saturday.
“Coach Tab (Baldwin) and his crew are already working. And from what I understand, they are looking to train again at Inspire (Academy),” he added. “I believe they will resume mid-March.”
Barrios also said the PBA will without a doubt have a hand in Gilas’ preparations.
“Commissioner Willie (Marcial) and I already talked about Gilas being able to play in the PBA, whether it is going to be in a conference or in a pocket tournament. We’re studying that and we’re hoping to forward our recommendations to the SBP’s top management, and him to the Board of Governors,” he said.
“It is clear that there will be something of that venture,” he added. “They are also looking at the possibility of going abroad.”
The Philippines is set to compete in at least three Fiba (International Basketball Federation)-sanctioned events this year: The continental qualifiers which have been rescheduled to Clark Freeport on June 14, the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Serbia on June 29, and then the Asia Cup on Aug. 16.
There’s also the 3×3 OQT in Austria on May 26.
However, Gilas’ head coach, the composition of the squad, and the status of its naturalized player remain up in the air as of this moment.
The national federation has yet to appoint a permanent head coach after it decided to appoint Jong Uichico on an interim basis during the Asia Cup qualifiers’ second window of games.
The team’s roster makeup, on the other hand, remains indeterminate. Gilas has been using a mix of collegiate standouts, its handpicked players from the PBA’s 2019 draft, and some a few of the league’s young stars. The SBP, however, affirmed its commitment to send the “best possible team” for the OQT, which was gifted to the Philippines after New Zealand’s withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the bill seeking to turn Ange Kouame a naturalized Filipino, has yet to hurdle the Senate.
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