MANILA, Philippines — It is too early to know if PBA players will be able to join Gilas Pilipinas in their revived bid for a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
This per Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios, after the Philippines was chosen to replace New Zealand in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Belgrade, Serbia slated on June 29 to July 4.
With the 46th season of the PBA expected to begin by April, the OQT will run smack into the professional players' schedule, which makes it complicated to assure PBA players' commitment to the national team.
"It's too early to say exactly kung papano ang participation ng PBA players," said Barrios.
"Hindi ganun kadali mag-sira ng schedule," he continued.
Despite his guarded optimism, Barrios said that he expects the SBP to be able to create an amenable agreement with the PBA — knowing that both parties understand what are the other's needs.
"[The] PBA has been very supportive… They know the value of the OQT to us, kaya I am sure they will work out an acceptable formula," he said.
The last time that the PBA's schedule came in conflict with Gilas Pilipinas' calendar, no professional player was able to suit up for the national team — prompting an all-cadet roster to test their mettle in the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in November of last year.
However, SBP President Al Panlilio had stated before that the federation plans to bring the best roster it can possibly form in the Olympic Qualifiers — which will likely need professional players to reach its fullest potential.
Only time and more discussion can tell how many players, if at all, will the PBA send Gilas' ways.
Apart from the Olympic qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas will also be participating in the third window of the Asia Cup qualifiers which are tentatively scheduled in June according to Barrios.
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