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PBA gives ways to Gilas games, sets 2017 opener on Dec. 17

Photo from FIBA.com

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association has moved further to December 17 the opening of its 2017-18 season to give way to the window periods of competition of the Asian World Cup qualifier to be participated in by Gilas Pilipinas.

The PBA opens its next season late in the year, allowing complete focus on Team Philippines’ training and actual participation on the first window period of the World Cup home-and-away qualifying series in November.

Gilas plays Japan at the Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium in Tokyo on November 24 then battles Chinese Taipei at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on November 27.

The initial round of the qualifier involves two other windows — the second in February and the third and last in June-July.

“With the season opening on December, it also means little conflict of the PBA schedule with the other Gilas games. The PBA is in its elimination stages during the second and third FIBA windows,” said PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial.

Gilas coach Chot Reyes is expected to reassemble the Gilas pool in the second week of November.

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“The PBA is open,” said Marcial on the possibility of Reyes changing the composition of his pool from the PBA.

Reyes, however, is likely to stick with the core of his team fielded in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon in August. The team was composed of June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood, RR Pogoy, Matthew Wright, Jio Jalalon, Carl Bryan Cruz, Jason Castro, Terrence Romeo and Christian Standhardinger.

In putting up a team, Reyes is to work on the “one-player-per-team” policy set by the PBA board. He can get more than one only on teams that would allow him.

In the Lebanon joust, TNT (Castro and Pogoy), Rain or Shine (Almazan and Norwood) and Alaska (Abueva and Cruz) allowed two players each to render service to the national team.

The Philippines competes with 15 other teams for seven slots allotted for the region in the 2019 World Cup in China.

Meanwhile, Game One of the PBA Governors Cup Finals is set at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena on Friday. If the best-of-seven series goes beyond four games, Game Five will be played at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

It’s either a rematch of the Meralco-Ginebra title duel last year or a first-ever championship clash between MVP Group sister teams Meralco and TNT KaTropa.

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