MANILA – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has assured the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) of its support to the Gilas Pilipinas Men program for the next two windows of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers (ACQ) despite a potential conflict in schedule.
“Ang PBA team owners at ang PBA ay nananatiling committed na suportahan ang Gilas (The PBA team owners and the PBA remain committed to supporting Gilas),” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said on Friday.
On Thursday, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases granted the PBA a provisional approval for its season to restart, although a person privy to the situation told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the Games and Amusements Board and the Department of Health may still need to inspect the “semi-bubble” the league has set up at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The PBA is set to resume on October 11.
Meanwhile, the FIBA ACQ will hold its own bubble on November 27 and 30 in a yet-to-be-disclosed location.
The November window will happen at the projected time of the start of the league’s playoffs.
Marcial acknowledged that SBP president Al Panlilio has yet to reach out to the PBA for the possibility of lending players to the November window.
However, he added that the PBA would commit to the February window, which, like the November window, would happen inside a bubble.
“Ang binanggit sa amin ni SBP president Al Panlilio ay (What SBP president Al Panlilio told us is) February, and we’re committed to that. Walang pagbabago sa commitment ng PBA sa SBP at Gilas (There will be no change in the PBA’s commitment to the SBP and Gilas),” Marcial said.
With this development, the PBA may open its 46th season by March at the soonest.
Gilas Men is placed together with South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand in Group A of the FIBA ACQ.
The top two teams from each of the six groups after the three windows will enter the FIBA Asia Cup outright, while the third placers will collide in another qualifying tournament to determine the last four teams. (PNA)