MANILA, Philippines -- The UAAP will adjust its schedule to accommodate the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in November, and will also be in full support of the country's hosting of the showpiece event next year.
This according to UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag, who confirmed that they are in constant communication with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) over matters such as player availability.
A handful of UAAP players are in the Gilas Pilipinas pool, including reigning Most Valuable Player Ange Kouame of the Ateneo de Manila University, reigning Rookie of the Year Carl Tamayo of the University of the Philippines, and incoming freshman Kevin Quiambao of De La Salle University.
The men's basketball tournament of UAAP Season 85 starts on October 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The UAAP plans to take a break from November 7 to 15 to give way for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
"Ang last playing date namin is November 6, and we resume on the 16th," Saguisag said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum this week.
"We normally try to avoid going deep into the Christmas season, but… it's such a small sacrifice naman," he added. "Aabot tayo ng December 17. That's fine."
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) previously said that they will tap players from three PBA teams -- Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel, and TNT -- for the upcoming window, who will be joined by available players from the B.League and the UAAP.
Kouame, who was naturalized in 2021, has not played for Gilas since the February window of the qualifiers, missing the subsequent windows as well as the FIBA Asia Cup due to injury. Tamayo and Quiambao both played in the FIBA Asia Cup; Tamayo also suited up in the fourth window in August.
Aside from making their players available to the national team, the UAAP is also willing to help the SBP in the hosting of the World Cup next year.
"Open naman ang communication lines namin with the SBP and the FIBA Local Organizing Committee. We have an ex-member of the board, si Erika Dy, who is in fact going to meet us again to prepare naman for the FIBA World Cup, to be hosted here," said Saguisag.
"Hindi lang 'yung pag-adjust ng schedule. Other partnerships, whether tapping the studentry to get involved in the World Cup is also in the works. So ito 'yung mga pinag-uusapan namin," he added.
The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup will run from August 25 to September 10. It will be co-hosted by the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan, with the final phase to be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.