MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will continue its full support of the Gilas Pilipinas national team, which has been hit hard by sanctions from FIBA in the wake of its ugly brawl with Australia earlier this month.
Ten players were slapped with match suspensions for the upcoming round of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Alaska forward Calvin Abueva bore the brunt of the punishment, as he is suspended for six games – the entirety of the second round. Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright were suspended for one game, while Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Andray Blatche, and Troy Rosario got three-game suspensions. Roger Pogoy, Carl Bryan Cruz, and Jiovani Jalalon got five-game suspensions.
“Nakakalungkot,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told ABS-CBN News on Thursday. “Pero susundin pa rin natin kung ano ang decision ng FIBA.”
“Nakakalungkot lang kasi saying ang sakripisyo at hirap ng players. Pero susundin natin (ang FIBA),” he added.
Marcial also assured that coach Chot Reyes – who is suspended for one game as well – will have his pick when it comes to replacing the suspended players.
“Si Coach Chot Reyes, ang pool niya ay ang 12 teams ng PBA,” Marcial said firmly.
“Basta umokay ang player at pumayag siya, pwede (mag-laro sa Gilas Pilipinas),” he added.
Of course, this is as long as the player is qualified under FIBA rules, Marcial said.
“Basta legit, at basta pumayag ang player, okay na tayo. Sinusuportahan ng team owners at governors, 100% ang suporta natin sa national team,” he added.
Marcial was also relieved that FIBA’s sanctions did not extend to PBA games. The commissioner had previously said that they intend to appeal if FIBA will also suspend the players for league matches, and not just FIBA games.
“Magandang balita ‘yun,” he said. “Parang nabunutan tayo ng tinik na hindi kasama ang PBA.”
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