Full season starts June 5 as PBA reiterates support to Gilas program | Inquirer Sports
‘THAT’S OUR PRIDE’

Full season starts June 5 as PBA reiterates support to Gilas program

/ 05:10 AM May 31, 2022
Ricky Vargas

Ricky Vargas: The World Cup is very important to us. —PBA MEDIA

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is looking to mount a full season for the first time in two years, but its leadership has also taken aim at addressing a few more challenges as it rides the wave toward total normalcy.

“Our primary purpose is to see to it that this season has three conferences and that we will have a strong season that will bring everybody back to where it was during normal times,” board chair Ricky Vargas said in a preseason presser at Conrad Manila in Pasay City on Monday. “There will be other challenges that are a little bit long-term. And the board has looked at it.”

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Vargas revealed that the PBA remains on the lookout for a new office it could secure through a rent-to-own scheme. The league is also considering bringing the 3×3 tournament nationwide.

But most importantly, it is hoping to stay true to its commitment to becoming an integral part of a “basketball community” that caters to the national cage program’s needs.

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“World Cup 2023 will be on our shores in [14] months,” said Vargas. “That is also very important to us, not only because we’re the PBA, but because we love basketball, which is the pride of each and everyone in this room.”

“That’s our pride. So we’d like to be able to offer our help once again and be a little bit more flexible in terms of doing that,” he added.

Anyone Gilas wants

Commissioner Willie Marcial reaffirmed the PBA’s openness to lend its players to the cause, even as San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua assured that standouts from the powerhouse bloc will be readily available for the national cage program.

The league opens on June 5, with the Leo Awards kicking off revelries at Smart Araneta Coliseum at 2 p.m. Newcomer Converge and Rain or Shine will take the court first, followed by TNT and Magnolia in a rematch of the Philippine Cup Finals last year.

And as the PBA shoots for a return to its old ways, the specter of unresolved issues, expectedly, continues to hover.

Latest on players

Kiefer Ravena, the NLEX playmaker who was given by the PBA a pass to play in Japan, remains in talks with the NLEX management regarding his return to the Road Warriors.

“He already reached out to me through a letter last weekend,” Marcial told reporters shortly after the event. “We’re just waiting on NLEX.”

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The league chief said that Ravena’s fate in the PBA—whether he is slapped a hefty fine along with a ban—is contingent on NLEX’s decision, which will be known this week. Earlier reports said that the Road Warriors guard intends to play for his mother club in the Philippine Cup and then return to Japan.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Super LPG, which initially looked like it was going to lose its cornerstone to a foreign ballclub, made the assurance that Matthew Wright will be seeing action in the All-Filipino.

“[H]e will be playing,” said team gov. Raymond Zorrilla. “He has a live contract and he will honor that commitment to play for us, so we don’t see any problem with Matt playing for the Super LPG Fuel Masters.”

Over at NorthPort, Greg Slaughter remains unsigned and board representative Erick Arejola said that it is actually the Filipino-American big man who should be reaching out to the club.

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TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Ricky Vargas, World Cup 2023
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