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Gilas cadets only for SEA Games?

MANILA, Philippines - It looks like only Gilas cadets will play for the country in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Aug. 19-31 as the PBA Board of Governors is inclined not to release veterans for the Kuala Lumpur competition which isn’t singled out in the Memorandum of Agreement stipulating the terms of engagement between the SBP and the pro league with regard to participation of players in elite international tournaments.

SBP president Al Panlilio, PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and Gilas head coach Chot Reyes met for over two hours recently to discuss how to address the issue of assembling players for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon on Aug. 8-20 and the SEA Games. Reyes said if given the choice, he’d bring in a mix of cadets and veterans to Lebanon and Kuala Lumpur but the decision is up to the PBA Board. Reyes said he’ll abide by whatever is the Board’s verdict. Choosing the players for both competitions must be closely coordinated as there will be an overlap in the schedules.

R. R. Pogoy, Matthew Wright and Jio Jalalon
While the FIBA Asia Cup is a stand-alone tournament and isn’t a qualifier for either the World Cup or the Olympics, Reyes said the goal is to make a strong showing.  The results of the FIBA Asia Cup will determine world rankings which are considered in the modified draw for bracketing in elite competitions. The Lebanon conclave will introduce Australia and New Zealand to the Asian stage and the exposure for Gilas is critical because the Philippines and Australia are in the same group of the home-and-away World Cup qualifiers starting in November. Besides, SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan sits in the FIBA Central Board and gathering the best team available for Lebanon would be a reflection of his leadership.

It’s possible that the PBA Board will agree to a mix for Lebanon and only cadets for Kuala Lumpur.  The issue will be likely tackled in the next PBA Board meeting on Thursday. The deadline to submit the Gilas lineup for the SEA Games, however, is tomorrow so Reyes is pressed to decide the Kuala Lumpur cast ahead of the PBA Board meeting.

Reyes said he’ll enlist cadets R. R. Pogoy, Jio Jalalon and Matthew Wright for Lebanon but if veterans won’t be released for the SEA Games, they might be also lined up for Kuala Lumpur. It could be the same situation for 6-9 Fil-German Christian Stanhardinger who’s arriving in Manila tomorrow. A consolation is Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks, who are not in the PBA, reached out to Reyes to declare their availability for both competitions.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche could play in the FIBA Asia Cup but the SBP may opt to reserve the nine-year NBA veteran for the World Cup qualifiers. Stanhardinger, 27, is half-Filipino but from indications, it appears that he is eligible to play for Gilas only as a naturalized player. Reyes said Stanhardinger will attend the Gilas practice on Wednesday to fast-track his assimilation. Stanhardinger is in the Gilas roster for the Jones Cup in Taipei on July 15-23.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/06/26/1713750/gilas-cadets-only-sea-games

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