PBA names Olympic Qualifier Gilas player pool, pledges full support
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The PBA vows to fully support the cause of Philippine national men's basketball team Gilas Pilipinas when it chases a slot at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament happening from July 5 to 16 next year.
"The PBA commits to fully support the formation of the Philippine national team that will participate in the Wildcard Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July 2016," incumbent chairman Robert Non announced Wednesday, October 14.
Following a special board meeting held at the PBA Office in Libis, the league showed it is serious with its pledge of support by coming up with a 6-point resolution that was unanimously decided upon.
First among the resolutions is the league will lend 17 pro players for head coach Tab Baldwin's player pool. The names of which are "subject to change depending on player eligibility and the final choice of the national coach."
The players were selected by Baldwin himself with the final 12, including the naturalized player, to be named by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) by the end of January 2016, "provided that the players who are not chosen shall still be included in the Philippine Delegation that will be sent to the Qualifying Tournament."
The pool, which does not include naturalized or non-PBA players such as the Gilas cadets, consists of the following:
June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Greg Slaughter, Calvin Abueva, Jeff Chan, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Ryan Reyes, Marc Pingris, Ian Sangalang, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario.
Unlike the Gilas 3.0 team that finished silver in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, this reiteration of the national team will have more time to prepare with the PBA allowing the players selected to attend practice sessions once a week on Mondays for 28 weeks beginning in November.
The team may commence full practices following the conclusion of the mid-season Commissioner's Cup, which is projected to end around May 12 to 15.
The Board also agreed to adjust the schedule for the 41st season with the Governors' Cup conference to begin after the Qualifier, which will take place in 3 different cities around the world.
An ad hoc committee composed of PBA and SBP officials will be formed to "help each other in ensuring the participation of the individual players in the national team." That committee will include PBA governors Alfrancis Chua, Pato Gregorio, Atty. Mamerto Mondragon, and league Commissioner Chito Narvasa.
The league's resolutions come after being under fire the last 3 months as Gilas Pilipinas suffered roster blows for the FIBA Asia tilt with key players pulling out whether due to injury, fatigue, or personal reasons.
It is also after SBP President and basketball patron Manny V. Pangilinan expressed intent on possibly not sending a team to the Qualifier due to the likelihood then of pro players being unavailable for the national team given the PBA's schedule.
The Philippines, which is mandated by FIBA rules to participate in the tournament, qualified for the meet with its inclusion in the final four finishers of the FIBA Asia Championship in China early this month.
The team will be competing against teams from all over the world such as Greece, Croatia, New Zealand, Senegal and Puerto Rico.
The tournament will have 18 teams divided into 3 groups with the champion of each group qualifying for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.
Present at the Board meeting were Non (San Miguel Beer), Eric Arejola (incumbent vice chairman, Globalport), Ramoncito Fernandez (incumbent treasurer, NLEX), Alfrancis Chua (Barangay Ginebra), Rene Pardo (Star Hotshots), Al Panlilio (Meralco), Manny Alvarez (Barako Bull), Siliman Sy (Blackwater), Tomas Alvarez (Mahindra), Dickey Bachmann (Alaska), Atty. Mamerto Mondragon (Rain or Shine), Pato Gregorio (Talk 'N Text), league Commissioner Chito Narvasa, league President and CEO Chito Salud, Deputy Commissioner Ricky Santos, legal counsel Atty. Melvin Mendoza, and Media Bureau Chief Willie Marcial. — Rappler.com