MANILA - The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, through Executive Director Sonny Barrios, is in talks with the PBA regarding the possible participation of Gilas Pilipinas in the league's upcoming season.
Barrios revealed in an appearance on "Power and Play" on Saturday that he has already discussed with PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial the idea of the Philippine national team competing in the next conference of the professional league.
"'Yung konsepto, maliwanag na maliwanag 'yun. Kaming dalawa ni Comm. Willie, nag-usap na, about Gilas being able to play in the PBA," said Barrios.
Marcial said in early February that the PBA Board of Governors made the suggestion for Gilas Pilipinas to play in the PBA, which the SBP said it welcomed.
According to Barrios, it's now a matter of deciding whether Gilas will play in the upcoming conference or if they will organize a pocket tournament involving some PBA teams.
"'Yun ang napag-usapan namin ni Comm. Willie na pag-aaralan namin, at kung ano 'yung rekomendasyon namin, isusulong namin sa kanya-kanyang organisasyon," he said.
"Ako, sa top management ng SBP, siya naman sa PBA Board. Pero maliwanag na gusto naming magkaroon ng something of that nature," he added.
In the meantime, the national team is expected to begin training again in the coming weeks to prepare for a series of competitions -- the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers, scheduled for early June; the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, set June 29 to July 4 in Serbia; and the FIBA Asia Cup tournament itself in Indonesia.
Barrios anticipates that they will once again hold a training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, but an international camp is also in the cards.
"They are also looking at the possibility of going abroad," he said.
All stakeholders are determined to get Gilas Pilipinas involved in actual competition before they plunge into action in the FIBA events, however.
"Ang kulang, as you know, 'pag ganyang preparasyon for international, lalo na 'yung ganoong kabigat, ang kulang 'yung competition eh," said Barrios. "Hindi naman pwedeng scrimmage lang ng scrimmage, 'no."
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