MANILA – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has decided to further shorten the season-ending Governors' Cup to allow Gilas Pilipinas to compete in the 5th FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China in July.
The league was supposed to let Gilas play in the third conference but deemed it more proper for the national team to go up against foreign competition in preparation for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in August.
“We wanted to make sure that Gilas could leave by the 10th of July to be able to participate in the Wuhan tourney. We have yet to finalize the schedule but the Board is fully supportive of the idea of giving Gilas the chance to have a preparatory tourney for the World Cup,” PBA Commissioner Chito Salud said in the PBA website following a meeting with the league’s board of governors.
The league earlier shortened the third conference to mid-July to let Gilas, composed mainly of PBA superstars, ample time to train for the FIBA Worlds and the Asian Games.
But the schedule is in conflict with the Asia Cup, which will run from July 11 to 19. This forced the league to shorten anew the Governors’ Cup for the benefit of the national team.
Salud also said Gilas will no longer play as a guest team in the third conference.
“The competition Gilas will get in Wuhan will be more suitable to the kind of preparation they want for the World Cup and the Asian Games as compared to participating in the PBA third conference,” he said.
Host team China and FIBA Asia champion Iran have confirmed their participation in the Asia Cup, which will give the winner an automatic qualification the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
The PBA now plans to cram 10 games a week in the Governors’ Cup.
“There will be no change in the tournament format. We’ll have just a three-day break in between the second and third conferences. Then we further compress the third conference sked,” said Salud. “Whether it’s a triple header or double-header five times a week, we’ll let you know.”