In the wake of Gilas Pilipinas’ failed Olympic bid, PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa said talks with the league’s powerful board and officials of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will continue as they plot the future of the national team.
Narvasa, who was on hand to watch Gilas’ FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament games against France and New Zealand, admitted there’s still a lot of things the Philippines needs to improve on in order to reach world-class status in basketball.
“Nakikita mo talaga na kailangan ng height kasi medyo mataas ang mga kalaban natin at kulang talaga dahil walang suporta si (Andray) Blatche,” Narvasa told FOX Sports, a day after Gilas suffered a heartbreaking 89-80 defeat to New Zealand to kiss the country’s Olympic dream goodbye.
“Tapos, kapag pinalitan na si June Mar, malaki ang madi-dip eh (in size) but I’m sure they (SBP officials) know that already. Iyun lang ang observations ko.”
Despite the sad ending to the PH team’s FIBA OQT showing, Narvasa said the PBA and the SBP already have an initial working proposal for the future of Gilas since understandably, the current members of the national squad will be disbanding.
The 6-foot-10 Blatche will be leaving for the United States soon after his duties with Gilas, while the rest of the local players led by Jayson Castro will take a few days break, before reporting for their respective PBA teams.
The PBA’s season-ending Governors Cup is scheduled to kick off on July 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Yes, meron na kaming working initial proposal so we’ve asked all the PBA teams to give their opinions kasi gusto ko talaga ng collaboration between PBA and the SBP,” stressed Narvasa.
The first-year league chieftain said last week’s round-table discussion between the PBA board and the SBP went well as both groups have agreed to cooperate and come out with the necessary plans to ensure that the national program will be sustained.
“We’re all looking for suggestions also and make sure all are involved kasi masaya naman sila (SBP and PBA board), everybody is interested in helping Gilas while they (SBP) also recognized the direction of the PBA,” he added.
With FIBA shifting to the new home-and-away qualifying tournament for the next World Cup beginning next year, the national cage federation is now geared towards reviving the Gilas cadet program featuring the country’s finest amateur players.
Heading the potential members in the cadet program are former collegiate standouts Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy and Kevin Ferrer.
The cadet program appeared to be the logical solution to the impending shift of the FIBA calendar owing to the PBA’s lengthy nine-month schedule in its annual basketball season. – By Richard Dy
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