Outgoing SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan hopes to see a united front from all basketball stakeholders to send the strongest PH team in the Olympics World Qualifying Tournament next year. File Photo 

MVP bats for stronger Gilas in Rio wildcard qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines -- Outgoing Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Manny V. Pangilinan assured everyone even if he'll no longer going to be part of the SBP leadership, he promised to maintain his support with the country's national basketball program.

The assurance came as public became wary of the uncertainty of the country's national basketball program with its acknowledged godfather annunced on Thursday that he is going to vacate his post after eight years and three Gilas incarnations that saw the return of the country back to the world stage and as one of the region's basketball powers. 

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios clarified that Pangilinan will still be holding the position up until the basketball governing body holds its election for the new set of officers next January.

Thus, any decision related to Gilas Pilipinas along with the rest of SBP's cage program from October until before the SBP election will still be decided by the leadership under Pangilinan.

As of the moment, Barrios said the SBP has several more days to meet before making a decision on whether to send a team for the Fiba Qualifying tournament on July 2016 or not.

"Iyung qualifying tournament kasi, may deadline iyang pag-signify ng interest. I think sometime between Oct. 18 or 19, so either we signify the interest to participate or not," he said.

"But that (Gilas' participation in the qualifying tournament) is still up in the air.  Basta ang sa ngayon, gaya ng sabi ni MVP, hindi naman cast in stone dahil feeling niya (Pangilinan), yung team na nag-qualify at nag-silver medal, qualified to play sa wild card stage at dapat, kasama sa premyo nila eh sila rin ang maglaro sa qualifying," said Barrios.

"That's one school of thought na yung feeling niya, sana huwag naman magalit yung Gilas team. Eh feeling niya kasi, mahina yun (Gilas 3.0) para sa napakalakas na competition or kalaban sa qualifying tournament, at kailangan siguro, palalakasin natin muna yun dahil malakas ang mga kalaban natin," he added.

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