PBA to the rescue, SBP seeks pro-league help for replacement players
Mark Escarlote on Jul 19, 2018 08:51 PM
SBP asked the help of the PBA for replacement players after FIBA suspended 10 Gilas Pilipinas players.
After the FIBA suspensions and sanctions on 10 Gilas Pilipinas players and two coaches including head coach Chot Reyes, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will spend the coming days looking for replacements in time for the second round of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier.
SBP president Al Panlilio bared that the association is already talking with the PBA for possible replacements for the suspended players, who were involved in an ugly brawl during the Gilas’ home game against Asutralia last July 2 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“We’ll also work obviously with the PBA to identify who are these players we might consider and talk to the teams,” said Panlilio during the SBP’s press conference Thursday following the sanctions and fines meted by FIBA on Gilas players, coaches and the association.
Gilas will start their second round campaign on Sept. 13 against home team Iran before heading back home for a closed-door match against Qatar on Sept. 17. The PHI has two more closed-door games in a three-year span as part of FIBA's sanction.
Calvin Abueva received a six-game suspension, RR Pogoy, Carl Bryan Cruz, and Jio Jalalon were slapped with five each. Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and Troy Rosario are banned for three games while Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright had one-game suspension each.
According to Panlilio, SBP was already talking with the PBA and received positive response. “We need to seek clearance from the PBA teams that they will allow these players. Pero very supportive naman ang PBA,” he said. “We had a chat with commissioner (Willie Marcial) earlier, we had some chats with the governors and they are very supportive of the SBP.”
In a separate interview, Marcial and the PBA reiterated their support for the national team’s campaign to claim a World Cup slot.
As for Reyes, who was whipped with a one-game ban and a hefty CHF 10,000 fine or almost P535,000 in current exchange rate, SBP has yet to name a substitute coach.
“Pinag-iisipan pa kung sino yun kasi basically, one game. It’s one game. We’ll huddle up. I think the execom (executive committee) of the SBP will convene if not tomorrow maybe first thing next week then we’ll make decisions,” said Panlilio.
Aside from Reyes, assistant cach Jong Uichico, who went berserk and threw some nasty punches during the melee outside the court, was slapped with a three-game suspension.
The suspension could obviously put the chances of the PHI to advance in the World Cup in peril, but SBP is keeping their hopes high.
“At the end of the day this is the chosen pool, this is your top team,” said Panlilio of the current Gilas roster. “Obviously, we have a lot of talents still but this team has been together for quite some time and that’s also very important.”
“We’ll try our very best. We’ll deal with the cards that’s dealt us. We just have to continue to fight and play hard. We cannot give up. We just have to continue,” he said.
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