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SMC bloc, allies promise to continue backing Gilas

MANILA, Philippines — The “PBA five” assured on Friday that it will continue to make available its players to the national team for upcoming tournaments, especially the upcoming FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers.

“We believe [the preparation for the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers] should not be adversely affected by the board members’ differences in opinion,” a joint statement by the bloc said.

The "PBA five," also referred to as the "SMC-bloc," is composed of the three San Miguel Corporation teams — San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Purefoods — along with Kia and GlobalPort.

The five teams have publicly rallied behind the commissioner Chito Narvasa, who is currently under fire for alleged incompetence.

The statement came at a time where the leadership in the PBA’s front office has been extremely tested.

On Thursday noon, the seven governors of the other PBA teams met and filed a resolution that indicates the leagues’ refusal to extend Narvasa’s reign as commissioner for the upcoming season.

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The SMC bloc’s reassurance came as a big sigh of relief, allaying fears that the turbulent days might sidetrack the country’s bid to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup and would also put a big dent in Gilas Pilipinas’ attempt to put together the best team possible for international competition.

SMC said its teams have been adamant with lending its star players to Gilas.

"We reiterate that we are doing this to protect the league we all love, the game of basketball and the millions of fans who continue to support us,” the statement closed.

Gilas begins training for the World Cup qualifiers this Friday night at the Meralco Gym.

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