MANILA, Philippines – Barring injuries, June Mar Fajardo and the other members of the Gilas training pool will be at their best in the remaining windows of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this year because of the PBA games.
And the PBA assured the players will be available to Gilas, with the Commissioner’s Office making the adjustments so that the league and the ball clubs will face only minimal distractions on Gilas’ games.
PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial even hinted at the league board possibly lifting limits in the release of PBA players to the national team.
Under the existing PBA-SBP memorandum of agreement, PBA ball clubs are mandated to release only one veteran and one cadet to Gilas.
“Lifting the limit is possible,” said Marcial as he visited the Gilas pool in practice Monday at the Meralco Gym.
Marcial looks forward to the national team doing good in the second window of the WC qualifiers next month where Gilas will finally test its mettle against world No. 10 Australia.
Everybody is hopeful that Gilas will be in great shape.
“Since the PBA season is ongoing, the Gilas players are all in good condition. That won’t be a problem in our games in the World Cup qualifiers,” said Fajardo as he rejoined Gilas in training Monday.
Nonetheless, Fajardo said they will have a job cut out for them in the next window where they play Australia in Melbourne on February 22 then Japan at the MOA Arena in Pasay City on February 25.
The Boomers were dominant in their first two games against Japan and Chinese Taipei. The Nationals are tied with the Boomers in their group as Gilas also swept the Japanese and the Taiwanese in the first window.
Meanwhile, the SBP hinted at the possibility of holding Gilas’ home game against Australia at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on July 2.
“By playing in the three venues — the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena, this will serve as a dry run of our hosting of the FIBA World Cup 2023," said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.
"The three venues were presented as part of the country’s 2023 bid, and we get to showcase not only our facilities but our capabilities to the world."
Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/sports/2018/01/16/1778340/lifting-limit-gilas-bound-pba-players-possible-says-marcial#E5z9WmyTUgkr3XTh.99