Sep 12, 2022

PBA gives all-out support to Gilas, PH hosting of World Cup

THE PBA reiterated its vow to help Gilas Pilipinas form the best possible team for its campaign in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Appearing before the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Sports, commissioner Willie Marcial made clear the league is again making its players available for national cause, and has the ongoing Season 47 all ironed out to adapt to the Philippine team's preparations and the country's hosting of the August 25 to September 10 event.

Marcial was one of several resource persons invited by committee chairman Senator Bong Go on Monday to update and discuss all the groundwork being done by both basketball and sports stakeholders to assure the successful staging of the world basketball championship that was last hosted by the country in 1978 yet.

As it is, the league, according to Marcial, will have a four month break prior to the World Cup so as to give Gilas Pilipinas an ample time to train together and form one cohesive unit.

"Suportado naman ng PBA ang national team natin, at maaga pa lang inayos na namin yung schedule ng liga para mas mapag-tuunan ng pansin ang preparasyon at kampanya ng Gilas, at ng Pilipinas na rin bilang host ng World Cup," said Marcial.

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The league began to lend its players to the national team during the August window of the World Cup Asian qualifier that saw Gilas split its games against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

In a recent Board meeting, it was also agreed upon to make players of at least three teams available to the Philippine team for the coming window in November against Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The mid-season Commissioner's Cup is set to begin on Sept. 21 while the Governors' Cup kicks off in February 2023.

Shortly after, Gilas Pilipinas' World Cup preparation goes full swing.

Also present during the organizational meeting were Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al S. Panlilio, POC President Bambol Tolentino, new Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Noli Eala, who is also a former PBA commissioner, SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, PSC commissioner Bong Coo and PBA Legal counsel Atty. Melvin Mendoza. Senators Mark Villar, Robinhood Padilla, Bato Dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva and Alan Peter Cayetano joined the discussion at the Recto Hall as part of the Senate Committee on Sports while SBP chairman Senator Sonny Angara and Senator Pia Cayetano joined virtually.

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Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes was also in the meeting virtually.

Go, an avid supporter of the PBA, stressed the meeting was called to discern any help the Senate and the government can extend to the upcoming hosting of the World Cup.

"As the chair of the Senate Committee on Sports and avid basketball fan, I am always here to help and cheer for you. In this hearing, we wll not criticize nor intervene. Hindi po kami mangingialam sa pamamalakad at lalo na sa strategy ninyo," said Go in his opening statement.

"We just want to know the current state so that we know how we can help. Magtulungan po tayo, lalo na dahil host din tayo. Huwag nating sayangin ang pagkakataon na tayo po ang host, sana maging maganda po ang ating hosting pati na rin ang ating standing, para na rin po sa ating mga kababayan. We are ready to cheer for you.

"Our objective in this committee is to come up with meaningful recommendations and sound solutions that will benefit our athletes and our country."

Senator Joel Villanueva, a former varsity player at University of Santo Tomas, also expressed his gratitude to the PBA, most especially the team owners for lending their players and at the same time spending huge amount to help basketball further thrive in the country. (RG)