With one month to go before the 2023 FIBA World Cup, PBA commissioner Willy Marcial reiterated the pro league's support where local ball clubs can play tuneup matches against Gilas Pilipinas to keep the national team competitive and sharp.
“The last time we talked (with Gilas coach Chot Reyes), I told him to just tell me so we can help because we're about to end the PBA On Tour and players will be heading to vacation,” Marcial told the Manila Times in Filipino on Monday.
He emphasized that tuneup matches with PBA teams would be better since Gilas be going up against a squad that already has a defensive and offensive pattern as opposed to a Selection team.
“If we come up with a Selection team, we won't expect much defense unlike a PBA team that has been playing together already,” he added.
Marcial said the pro league is keeping its communication lines open with Reyes, who, along with the Gilas squad, is expected to leave on August 1 to participate in a pocket tournament in Guangdong, China.
The national squad will be going up against national teams from three-time Asian champion Iran, 2022 FIBA Asia Cup second-placer Lebanon and 2021 FIBA AfroBasket bronze medallist Senegal from August 2-5.
Reyes has said recently that they've already sent a request to play a friendly match against Puerto Rico while in China. But they are still waiting for a response.
Gilas though has a guaranteed friendly match against Mexico, which will happen about a week before the national team makes its much-awaited 2023 FIBA World Cup debut against Dominican Republic on Aug. 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
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