PBA shortens 48th season for Gilas Pilipinas’ sake
In continuing to fulfill its commitment to the national cage program, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) said on Thursday it will play just two conferences next season while moving its 48th Season opener after the 2023 Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup.
With the opening slated September, national coach Chot Reyes will have a longer time to be with the players that he chooses to play in the global showcase, scheduled here and in multiple sites across Indonesia and Japan in August next year.
“That is what we saw we could do in support for Gilas, which has always been the thrust of the board,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told reporters shortly after a meeting among team governors at the league’s offices in Libis, Quezon City.
The development comes almost a week after a statement from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ president Al Panlilio which called for all of the sport’s stakeholders’ help.
It was also approved during the meeting that Reyes will now have expanded access to pros for the squad that will be seeing action in the second round of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers slated late next month.
“The board is OK with Chot selecting from 10 teams for the August [window],” Marcial said, referring to teams that don’t make the Philippine Cup Finals.
Marcial said the national coach can tap as many players he wants for the pool, although Reyes has yet to indicate just how many pros he intends to put in his 12-man roster, which Gilas hopes that Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson would banner.
Reyes on Wednesday begged off from providing details on his talent pool in deference to the PBA meeting.
The Nationals are set to play Lebanon in Beirut on Aug. 25, and then host Saudi Arabia four days later. Those games—which are being used as a means to determine players for the World Cup squad—will coincide with the title showdown of the PBA’s centerpiece Philippine Cup.
Marcial said the PBA board did not discuss beyond the August window of the qualifying games.
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