PBA board, Reyes to tackle Gilas Pilipinas’ World Cup stint
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2013 - 3:55pm

MANILA, Philippines – The PBA board of governors and national coach Chot Reyes will sit down in a meeting soon to discuss options on how to prepare Gilas Pilipinas for its stint in the 17th FIBA World Cup in Spain slated Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 next year.

The national coach sought the meeting with the pro league officials through PBA board vice chairman Mon Segismundo.

The No. 1 matter up for discussion is the availability of players for training and actual participation in the world joust.

Then there’s now also the question on who will represent the country in the 2014 Asia Games in Incheon, South Korea, set just a week after the world meet in Spain.

Eleven of 12 players of the Gilas squad that qualified for the world championship are from the pro ranks. Reserve Beau Belga is also a PBA player.

The original arrangement agreed upon by the PBA and the national cage federation on loaning of players to the national team was only up to the FIBA Asia Championship.

Of course, it’s now incumbent upon the two parties to make a new agreement with Gilas Pilipinas gaining a slot to the world meet.

Reyes has said they will not just enjoy the scenery but try to win some games to qualify for the second round of the Spain tourney.

A major concern again, however, is the tight schedule of the pro league.

The schedules of the PBA Governors Cup and the coming 2013-14 PBA season were already compressed to accommodate Gilas Pilipinas’ buildup for the Asian championship.

The question is whether the PBA is again willing to revise its calendar to be of help yet again to the national team.

If the PBA sticks with its original schedule, Gilas Pilipinas will have only a few days to prepare for the world championship.

But then Reyes and his team hope to put up a decent performance in Spain, the country’s first participation in the basketball world stage in 36 years.

There’s also the clamor for Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to field the same squad to the Incheon Asiad.

“If the decision is for Gilas to play in the Asian Games, I think our participation in the World Cup will be a perfect run-up for Incheon,” said Reyes. “We’re assured to play five games during the preliminaries in Spain and our goal is to make it to the second round.”

The preliminaries will be played in four cities in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4. The first stage of the two-level knockout quarterfinals will be played on Sept. 6 and 7 in Madrid and Barcelona. The second stage of the knockout quarterfinals is scheduled on Sept. 9 and 10. The earliest Gilas will leave Spain is Sept. 5, the day after the end of the preliminaries, or two weeks before the start of the Asian Games.

Reyes said depending on the 24-nation World Cup draw in February, the Philippines might get lucky and join a bracket without the top teams. Two wins in five games in the preliminaries will guarantee a slot in the knockout quarterfinals, the second phase of the eliminations.

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