06 June 2016

Why The Gilas Pilipinas Program Makes Sense

Gilas Pilipinas Program
However critics will view the recent move of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman Manny V. Pangilinan to revive the original design of the Gilas Pilipinas program, one thing is clear: it all makes sense.

Unlike in previous years when the FIBA Asia Championship served as the lone qualifier for the region, the sports body has merged the Asia Oceania zones (made up of Australia and New Zealand) under the new format that will see nations playing four home-and-away qualifiers during the course of the year instead of a single event.

The new format means the country cannot rely on the commitment of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) alone. It needs to have a core of players that are willing to don the country's jersey in international qualifying tournaments. It is a natural reaction if the country wants to get a chance to be part of the 2019 World Cup in China.

"The formation of the Gilas cadet pool is a natural, logical direction to undertake and consider undertaking for SBP in light of the new FIBA calendar," SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios told SPIN.ph.

"Beginning in 2017, Gilas will have to play in four home-and-away tournaments where we know it will be difficult for SBP to rely on PBA players four times a year, simply because if will destroy its calendar," the former PBA Commissioner added.

Barrios explained the qualifiers will be held for 8-10 days for four times in a year and will demand more time from PBA stars if you put in the preparation time.

For the Olympic qualifiers alone, the PBA is taking almost a two-month break to allow Gilas to prepare under Tab Baldwin.

"Pinanganak yang (Gilas cadet) idea na 'yan because of the new FIBA format. Hindi na kadali para sa PBA na mag-supply ng players for these four home-and-away games," Barrios said.

"Speaking as a former PBA man, I cannot see how the PBA can disrupt the schedule four times in a year," he added. "Do you see the PBA giving up that much time?"

Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said PBA stars may still be tapped to reinforce the soon-to-be-formed Gilas cadets pool, if available.

"Kung may mahiram ka, de okay," he said. "Kung wala, at least may team ka na."

The question is, "will the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) still lend their players if they were asked to or they are already preparing several excuses?"

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