SBP lauds PBA team owners support

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 16 2013 01:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2013 09:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas leadership is encouraged by the full support thrown by the Philippine Basketball Association, hopeful of forming the most competitive team for the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship the country is hosting in August.

"I'm very positive and encouraged because the PBA, its owners and officials have committed in the vision and objective of forming not only the best but the most competitive team to represent our country," said SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas.

"Beggars cannot be choosers," Vargas also said on the PBA's commitment to lend at least one player from each of the 10 PBA ball clubs.

In the spirit of unity and broad representation, PBA commissioner Chito Salud made the proposal for Gilas Pilipinas to get at least one player each from the 10 PBA teams.

"That's my proposal," said Salud as he reiterated PBA team owners are fully behind the national team in its quest to make good in the coming Asian championship serving as the regional qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

"If there are teams willing to lend more players, so be it," added Salud who personally phoned every team owner to request for unqualified cooperation after he was informed that FIBA-Asia had awarded the hosting rights of the 2013 Asian joust to Manila.

Salud, at the same time, stressed though that coach Chot Reyes has got full authority to form the team that he thinks has the best chance of achieving the country’s goal in the tourney.

The top three in the event qualify for the world meet in Spain in 2014.

Reyes has actually named certain PBA players to the training pool, some of them becoming part of the national team that reigned supreme in the last Williams Jones Cup in Taipei.

"As early as last year, the PBA Board of Governors had approved the resolution allowing Gilas to tap our players for the national team. That’s the background of this thing," said Salud.

"Of course, there will be conflict-of-schedule issues so with this latest development, I wanted to be sure of the owners' commitment. I called every one and they guaranteed their all-out support and cooperation from Mr. Ramon Ang to Mr. Wilfred Uytengsu to Mr. George Chua to Mr. Mikee Romero to Mr. Raymund Yu to Mr. Terry Que and to Mr. Bert Lina. This undertaking wouldn't be possible without the persistence, patience and dedication of our team owner Mr. Manny Pangilinan," said Salud.

The FIBA Asia Executive Committee decided Thursday to move the 27th FIBA Asia Championship from Beirut, Lebanon to Manila in view of the current situation in Lebanon and the rest of West Asia.

It will be the first time after 40 long years that the Asian basketball championship will be held in the country since the iconic duo of Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez led the home team to a championship via a 10-game sweep at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in 1973.

The Philippines narrowly missed the top three the last time out in Wuhan, China, placing fourth behind China, Jordan and Korea. It’s the country’s best finish in the biennial event since the Joe Lipa-mentored Phl team led by Benjie Paras, Alvin Patrimonio and Ronnie Magsanoc also placed third runner-up in 1987 in Bangkok, Thailand.