PBA chair lauds move to help Gilas 5

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 23 2013 10:27 AM | Updated as of Jan 23 2013 11:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - PBA chairman Robert Non said the local pro league is open to revision or changes in their season schedule to help the country achieve its goals in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship set at the MOA Arena in Pasay in August.

Non said they will look at the most effective alternative to make it viable for the PBA and the FIBA Asia event to co-exist.

"Commissioner Chito Salud will present his proposal then the board will talk about it," Non told The STAR of what's likely to happen in their meeting tomorrow.

Under the approved season format and schedule, the PBA will still be playing games up to the fourth week of July, just couples of days before the opening of the Asian joust on Aug. 1.

Meanwhile, Smart Gilas opened its campaign in the 19th Super Kung Sheung Cup International Basketball Invitational Championship with a 110-78 rout of the Indonesian national squad at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wanchai, Hong Kong.

Next up for Gilas Pilipinas is Hong Kong at 7 p.m. tonight.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has sounded its wish for the PBA to do something to resolve the conflict and give pro players some time to train with Gilas Pilipinas.

Suggestions include shortening the third conference format and/or squeezing the schedule by holding games on non-traditional play days (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Non said they're open to Salud's proposal for all 10 PBA teams to commit a player each to the national team. "If there are teams willing to lend more players, so be it," he said.

The PBA chair maintained the league is committed to help give the country a good shot at making the 2014 FIBA World Cup and at the same time help make the country's hosting of the 2013 FIBA Asian Championship a resounding success.

Sixteen teams are entered in the event with the top three qualifying for the world championship.

In the last FIBA Asia Championship, the Philippines narrowly missed the top three, bowing to South Korea in the fight for second runner-up honors.

Making up the team then were young amateur standouts reinforced by PBA players Kelly Williams, Ranidel de Ocampo, Asi Taulava and Jimmy Alapag.

Coach Chot Reyes intends to bring the best of the PBA for the coming Asian meet.

Already on board in the training pool that had its successful run in the last Jones Cup in Taipei are De Ocampo, Gary David, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Larry Fonacier, LA Tenorio, Mac Baracael, Sonny Thoss, JayR Reyes, Rico Villanueva and Sol Mercado.

Likely to be added to the team are San Mig Coffee's Marc Pingris and either Junmar Fajardo or Arwind Santos of Petron.

On his Twitter account, the national coach said he would not answer questions about FIBA Asia lineup until they get back to Manila and meet with all concerned people.