PBA sked to give Gilas 5 more time to train

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 03 2013 04:19 PM | Updated as of Feb 04 2013 12:19 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The three-day Singapore meeting of the PBA board ended Friday with league officials more firm on their commitment to help the national team achieve its goal of bringing the country back in the world championship for the first time in 35 years.

Still to be resolved, though, is how the PBA officials would reschedule their third conference games to give Gilas Pilipinas maximum period of time to prepare for the regional world qualifier set Aug. 1-11 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

"There are many scenarios being studied and considered. Let’s not preempt our governors and team owners. I’m confident that the final arrangement to be arrived at will be designed primarily to permit our national team to train together and jell sufficiently to be competitive in the FIBA tournament," said PBA commissioner Chito Salud.

"Obviously, national interest will be the major consideration in this case," Salud added.

A big block in the board is for the postponement of the season-ending Governors Cup after the staging of the FIBA Asia Championship, giving Gilas Pilipinas a window period of three months to brace for the Asian joust.

Another group wants to go on with the Governors Cup elimination round then postponing just the playoffs after the FIBA Asia event.

Coach Chot Reyes said he’ll name the players making up the national team after the PBA has decided on the training schedule.

To shorten the Governors Cup, ending possibly a month before the FIBA Asia event was another option looked into by the board.

Most of the PBA officials, however, agreed on giving Nationals the longest period of preparation possible.

"Since we're helping them, why not help them fully," said Air21 governor Lito Alvarez.

"I think it's the better option for us," said Alaska Milk official Dickie Bachmann.

"We're not wavering on our stand. If it's for the country, we’re all for it," said Rain or Shine's Mamerto Mondragon.

"Personally, I'm for it, and I believe even my principal would be amenable on it," said Barako Bull’s Manny Alvarez.

A concern is what PBA teams will do during the lull. There’s also the financial consideration since teams will have to shell out extra sum for those players whose contracts are expiring in July.

One suggestion is out-of-town sorties during the break.

The team owners earlier committed full backing to Gilas Pilipinas which will embark on a bid to bring the country back to the world championship for the first time since 1978.

National coach Chot Reyes has appealed that they be given enough time to train as they aspire to make a good run playing before a home crowd in the coming Asian meet.

Reyes mentioned the advantage of their rivals in preparation period, but nonetheless expressed gratitude to the PBA for its backing.

"We're very thankful for their all-out support in this program in trying to achieve the goal in qualifying for the world championships. We're very appreciative," he said.