Panlilio is new SBP chief; Gilas program continues
Nelson Beltran ( - August 8, 2016 - 5:18pm

MANILA, Philippines – Newly elected Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio on Monday stressed that Gilas Pilipinas will continue to be their flagship program, with the national cage federation keeping it resolve to get the country back in the Olympics hopefully in 2020 in Tokyo.

“The programs are solid and remain to be intact. We’ll push on with it,” said Panlilio shortly after his formal election to succeed Manny V. Pangilinan as SBP chieftain.

“We’ll continue with regional directors to implement the programs we’ve put in place. The task is to develop Philippine basketball not just internationally but also locally,” added Panlilio after the SBP national congress and elections at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

The 53-year-old top business executive, senior vice president at Meralco and president of the MVP Sports Foundation, leads the new SBP board of trustees along with Sen. Sonny Angara and former Cong. Robbie Puno, who were elected chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

Ricky Palou was appointed as treasurer while Sonny Barrios was retained as executive director to run the daily affairs of the federation.

The elections of the new set of officer were held after the separate election for 13 new members of the SBP board of trustees.

Making the new board now are Florante Guillermo Jr. Bernie Bermudez, Crispulo Onrubia, Gil Cortez, Rey Bautista, Benjo Viola, Ramoncito Fernandez, Enrico Navarro, Fr. Joseph Haw, Glenn Escandor and Stephen Dacoco from the geographical sector, Ronnie Dizer, Efren Jose Supan, Joe Lipa, Melanie Florentino and Xavy Nunag from the school sector, Puno, Palou and Jobin Jarvis Uy (commercial), Panlilio, Chito Narvasa, Robert Non and Erick Arejola (pro), Monica Jorge (women’s) and Angara (youth).

Pangilinan, former chairman Oscar Moreno and vice chairman Ricky Vargas were among who have termed out.

Pangilinan endorsed the election of Panlilio and his group, and urged the new SBP board to pursue key goals including qualifications to the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

“It would be excellent to see our national team participate in these two events,” said Pangilinan even as he joked “I’m 10 years older and a billion pesos poorer” after a decade of service as SBP head.

 Panlilio said they’re determined to push on with the program “as Filipinos love basketball.”

“We’d like to solicit help from a lot of sectors. We’d like to understand how we can strengthen the programs,” said Panlilio, adding they’re in continuous talks with the PBA.

“We need to have an agreement on how we could move forward with the national team program. In time, well have it finalized,” he also said.

Angara and Puno, as lawmakers, have had participation in the Gilas program before, particularly on the naturalization of Marcus Douthit then Andray Blatche.

They’re likely to be more active as they’re now part of the SBP board.

“Ang gusto ng estado, gusto din ng SBP (What the state wants, the SBP wants, too) We’ve seen what can be achieved with the government helping private initiative,” said Angara.

“At this point, we have to identify players who were born in 2000. But it doesn’t start in 2020. It starts now,” he added.

“I think the name of the game is adopting to changes. FIBA is changing,” said Puno.

“While putting on a strong national team remains, recruitment is as important,” he added. “I think that the grassroots recruitment of players, whether here or abroad, it’s vitally important.”

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