FILE – SBP President Al Panlilio. INQUIRER PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas expressed its interest in the PBA’s offer to allow Gilas Pilipinas to play in the PBA this season.
“The SBP is thankful to PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and the Board of Governors for extending an invitation to Gilas Pilipinas to join their competitions this season,” said SBP President Al Panlilio.
The idea of having Gilas Pilipinas compete in this year’s Philippine Cup was brought up during the PBA board meeting on Monday.
“The PBA has been a valuable partner to the SBP and this invitation only reasserts the league’s commitment to helping our Gilas Pilipinas program in whatever way they can,” he said.
“Aside from lending players, assistant coaches, and even head coaches for the national team’s cause, the SBP appreciates the PBA’s willingness to adjust their competition to accommodate our team.”
The last time a Philippine team participated in the PBA was in 2011 when the original Gilas team, which was led by Marcus Douthit, Chris Tiu, JVee Casio and Marcio Lassiter, lost to Barangay Ginebra in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“We know the value of being able to play games against PBA teams on a regular basis as evidenced by the exploits of Smart-Gilas 1 back in 2011,” said Panlilio.
“Training is important for any team but you learn a lot about your teammates when you go up against strong opposition.”
But before anything else, the upcoming third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers comes first for Gilas Pilipinas.
Gilas is currently in the critical stretch of its bubble training camp in Calamba, Laguna before leaving for Doha, Qatar of Saturday.
“Right now the focus Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin, together with his coaching staff, is preparing our team for the upcoming games against South Korea and Indonesia,” said Panlilio.
“We’re definitely open to the idea of playing in the PBA and once the team arrives from Doha, we will sit down with the PBA to discuss this matter further.”
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