MANILA, Philippines – Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made it clear on Thursday that FIBA’s sanctions to Gilas Pilipinas do not apply to its participation in the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia.
Ten national team players were given suspensions of varying lengths for their role in the brawl that took place last July 2 in FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier against Australia. Coach Chot Reyes and Jong Uichico were also sanctioned.
Five of the 10 players sanctioned – Terence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Andray Blatche, Troy Rosario, and Roger Pogoy – are also part of the initial roster for the Asian Games.
According to SBP, their FIBA bans does not disqualify them from the Asiad, which takes place August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang.
“If you look at the decision, it’s very clear. It says FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers,” SBP president Al Panlilio said.
However, even before the sanctions were announced, the SBP was already discussing a possible “Option B” with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“We had a meeting already with the PBA, on options who to field, in case sanctions do happen,” said Panlilio. “So there are discussions already.”
Panlilio stressed that the SBP wants to send a team to the Asian Games, but the squad needs to be competitive as well.
“I think we’d just have to know what would be the most competitive team that we can come up with to compete in the Asian Games. Kasi kung 'di ka competitive nakakahiya din,” he pointed out.
The original plan was for the core of TNT, including Blatche, to represent the Philippines in the Asian Games. Don Trollano, Jericho Cruz, Anthony Semerad, and Kelly Williams were included in the lineup, along with Gilas cadets Ricci Rivero, Kobe Paras, and Abu Tratter.
Even though the sanctioned players are still eligible to play in the Asian Games, Panlilio said they are considering all options available – including sending the San Miguel Beer team or even the Gilas Cadets squad to the Asian Games.
“Kailangan pag-usapan,” Panlilio stressed. “May mga commitments din ang mga ibang cadets. We’ll have to talk about it.”
“We have to make a decision in the next few days,” he added. “But we have to make sure we support the POC.”
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.