Full-time Gilas team an ‘option,’ says POC chief

Delfin Dioquino
Full-time Gilas team an ‘option,’ says POC chief
POC president Ricky Vargas says there is a possibility the Gilas Pilipinas cadets would need to focus on the 2023 FIBA World Cup campaign before joining the PBA draft

MANILA, Philippines – At the wake of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) withdrawal in the upcoming Asian Games, forming a dedicated Gilas Pilipinas squad could be in the works again. 

Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas, who also serves as the PBA chairman, said there is a possibility that the SBP will create a full-time national squad for the 2023 FIBA World Cup the country will be hosting. 

“That’s an option,” he told reporters through a phone patch when asked if there is a chance the Gilas program will duplicate the Gilas 1.0 team that featured collegiate susperstars before they were drafted in the PBA. 

Pwede ring cadets, all the way to 2023. Then doon lang sila magpapa-draft after 2023. So that is also a possibility that we’ll be talking about. So we are preparing for 2023.”

(There is a possibility that it will all be Gilas cadets until 2023. Then they will join the draft after 2023. So that is a possibility that we’ll be talking about. So we are preparing for 2023.) 

The SBP cited its “aim for sustainable success in future tournaments” as one of the reasons for pulling out the Gilas team from the quadrennial centerpiece and it could mean a retooled model for the men’s national basketball team.  (READ: PH faces penalty for Asian Games withdrawal)

“We came from the world tournament which we performed well, very competitively. Then the same team moved to the Asian Games. We performed miserably,” said Vargas, referring to Gilas’ dismal 7th-place finish in the 2014 Asian Games after a valiant stand in the World Cup a month earlier. 

“We have to be able to change and adapt to a model that will make us more successful.” 

While basketball fans, especially on social media, have expressed their frustration on SBP’s decision, Vargas said he understands where the federation is coming from. 

Naiintindihan ko rin ang disappointment ng mga tao. (I understand the fans’ disappointment.) But this is the time now to look at long-term plans than to look on short-term plans,” he said. 

“They’re looking forward to strengthening our future as opposed to looking at all this current.” – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.