Willie Marcial: Asian Games cancellation could affect World Cup preps
The cancellation of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, may relieve some of the stress on the Philippine Basketball Association schedule, but league commissioner is more worried about its implications on the national program.
“Sure, it’s a welcome development for the league,” Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone Friday, referring to a one-month break after the Philippine Cup the PBA had scheduled to help Gilas Pilipinas prepare for the Asian Games.
“But you have to consider the fact that it’s also one of the avenues to prepare for the Fiba World Cup here next year,” Marcial said, adding the league has yet to receive official word of the cancellation, which was caused by the uptick of coronavirus cases in neighboring Shanghai.
“We’re going to study the situation, but as of now we have yet to hear an official word that it has been bumped to next year,” he said.
The Philippines will cohost the Fiba World Cup with japan and Indonesia, and Gilas Pilipinas is building a team that could compete credibly in the basketball showcase. Part of the buildup was to expose the national team to as many international meets as possible.
Meanwhile, 67 names have thrown in their names for the annual Rookie Draft and Marcial is expecting that number to swell just before the league’s deadline on Saturday.
“We’ve already gotten some [prominent names], like Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Jeremiah Gray, Tyrus Hill, Encho Serrano, along with Jollo Go, Justin Arana, JM Calma, and Sedrick Barefield,” Marcial said.
“The window to apply is until 5 p.m. tomorrow, and we’re still expecting some other prospects to turn in their names just before the window closes,” he went on.
Ganuelas-Rosser, brother of TNT forward Matt, is projected to be the overall pick in the annual proceedings scheduled for May 15 at Robinson’s Place Manila in Ermita owing to his 6-foot-7 frame and experience.
Blackwater is set to draft first, on top of two more selections late in the first round. Terrafirma goes second, followed by back-to-back picks by Converge, which hopes to be competitive immediately after assuming Alaska’s franchise just last month.
A PBA source told the Inquirer also Friday that La Salle standout and Gilas cadet Justine Baltazar will join the Draft too.
Baltazar, as of this writing, is currently helping the Green Archers make it to the Finals of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.
Your weekly sports analysis
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.