SBP issues desperate call for all stakeholders to unite | Inquirer Sports
SOUNDING THE ALARM

SBP issues desperate call for all stakeholders to unite

/ 05:35 AM July 23, 2022
Gilas Pilipinas team in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup.

Gilas Pilipinas team in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup. –FIBA BASKETBALL

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) finally broke its silence on Friday, basically saying that the last Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup stint of Gilas Pilipinas that doomed the country to its worst finish in 13 years is water under bridge.

In a statement, SBP president Al Panlilio however, asked all of the sport’s stakeholders for help.

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The Philippines is slated to co-host the 2023 World Cup with Japan and Indonesia, and Gilas is priming up for that event albeit in a way this basketball-crazed nation thinks has been going backwards.

“We really have to give it full support from all basketball stakeholders,” Panlilio said in the short statement, which bared a scheduled Aug. 1 meeting where everyone can chip in to address the manpower woes of the National Five.

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Panlilio said the lack of training time and player availability are issues that must be addressed, with three Fiba World Cup Asia qualifying windows lined up for August, November and February, the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia on May 5-16 and the World Cup on Aug. 25-Sept. 10 next year.

The country already has a slot in the showcase, being a co-host, but the SBP has made it clear that it wants Gilas to participate in as many tournaments as possible to expose the national team to world-level play so that the Philippines can send a seasoned squad to clash with the best on the planet.

There is a proposal for a shortened Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season next year. Asia’s pioneering pro league is the main source of talent of the national team, which last played in the World Cup in 2014 in Seville, Spain, where it scored an overtime victory over Senegal in group play.

Clarkson in

“The World Cup will never happen again in Manila in our lifetime,” PBA chair Ricky Vargas said. “It took 45 years to bring the World Cup back to Manila, we should go all out. We need the best to play and be allowed to play. We call on all stakeholders to unite for flag and country.”

Gilas played the Asia Cup without its top scorer, the injured Dwight Ramos, and its naturalized player, Ange Kouame, who is recovering from a knee injury.

And while Ramos and Kouame are sure to make the final roster for next year, the SBP has assured the inclusion of Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson, who already saw Philippine action in the Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018.

Kai Sotto also remains a priority for the cage leaders, saying that they will try to reach out to the young 7-foot-3 center and reel him in for the next three windows of the Qualifiers, the SEA Games in Cambodia and eventually the World Cup.

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Panlilio said it is time for leagues “to sacrifice and adjust schedules … as the World Cup is only a year away.”

Defending Chot

The night before the statement was released, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone came to Chot Reyes and the cage program’s defense, saying that having “high expectations that Gilas is going out to play and great basketball right now is kind of unfair and not realistic at this point.”

“I’ve looked at it in a way that this isn’t an evaluation period. We’ve already assured our spot in the World Championships, so why put all of it in right now? Number 1, if you’re Ron Jacobs—Ron Jacobs wouldn’t show his whole hand this early time,” the PBA’s winningest coach went on.

“To me, it’s more of an evaluation, or almost like a tryout to see who’s playing at this point. Again, like we’ve been talking about in terms of our preparation and in terms of our trying to develop our team and getting ready for the playoffs, I think this kind of period is the same for the National Team at this point, they’re just getting ready and trying different guys.”

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TAGS: FIBA, Gilas Pilipinas, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, SBP
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