Senate inquiry in aid of Gilas Pilipinas augmentation up
Some of the Philippines’ cage and sports leaders are set to appear before a Senate panel this week, formally kicking off a legislative probe into the handling of Gilas Pilipinas.
The Inquirer on Sunday learned through Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial that he, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chief Al Panlilio, newly-appointed Philippine Sports Commission Chair Noli Eala and national coach Chot Reyes have been invited to appear at the Senate on Monday at 10:30 a.m.
This is in line with Senate Resolution No. 83 filed last Aug. 1 by five senators, including Bong Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Sports.
The PBA chief clarified that the inquiry will be of aid—and not an indictment—of the national cage program.
“Like what I’ve mentioned before, Senator Bong told me that it will all be about how else Gilas’ preparations for the (Basketball) World Cup could be augmented,” Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone.
Gilas Pilipinas is currently in the process of determining a roster for the showcase which the Philippines will be cohosting with Japan and Indonesia in August next year.
But the Nationals’ build-up has been marred by a spate of international debacles, like when the Filipinos yielded the Southeast Asian Games gold medal to Indonesia in Hanoi. Just two months later, it turned in a ninth place finish in the Asia Cup in Jakarta.
For PH athletes
The resolution, which was co-introduced by Senators Mark Villar, Joel Villanueva, Francis Tolentino and Alan Peter Cayetano, also underscored the pressing need to revisit relevant laws and policies aimed to support the national team, along with ensuring the competitiveness and welfare of Filipino athletes.
Marcial also shared that just last Thursday, the PBA leadership elected to allow Reyes to tap three clubs for the World Cup Asian Qualifiers even while the league is neck-deep in its Commissioner’s Cup.
“The (governors) have agreed to help Gilas again this November. Though we’re not going on a break, the league decided to lend players from two to three teams of coach Chot’s choosing,” said Marcial.
The Commissioner begged off from identifying the clubs in deference to Reyes, who is also the Gilas program director.
Gilas mainstays from Reyes’ TNT and San Miguel Beer can now backstop the cage program for the Fiba game against Jordan on Nov. 10, along with the rematch against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 13.
The development should come as a relief for Gilas, which is expecting a number of absences by November as the Fiba games will coincide with the new NBA and NBL seasons which pretty much rules out Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson and Adelaide 36ers big man Kai Sotto.
Marcial shared that Gilas is also mulling to reel in standouts plying their trade in Japan, which should be a logical course of action for the cage program. The B.League, after all, also takes a break during Fiba competitions.
The Philippines is currently 3-3 in Group E of the tournament which the cage leaders are using to prepare for the event that will feature the best countries on the planet.