Senate rallies behind Gilas, PSC

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Senate rallies behind Gilas, PSC
All for one: Senate committee on sports chairman Bong Go (fifth from left) poses with fellow Senators Joel Villanueva and Alan Peter Cayetano, POC president Abraham Tolentino, PSC chairman Noli Eala and commissioner Bong Coo, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and Atty. Melvin Mendoza, and SBP president Al Panlilio and executive director Sonny Barrios.
Mong Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas is eyeing to naturalize Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and TNT’s Cameron Oliver – as soon as possible.

The move is meant to bolster the national quintet in its redemption bid in international competitions.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio and Gilas coach Chot Reyes presented the names of their naturalization prospects during yesterday’s Senate hearing.

“We have two names (for the pool). At times na hindi available si Jordan Clarkson, gusto natin lumalaban pa rin tayo at may malakas na team,” Reyes told Sen. Bong Go, who chairs the sports committee.

Go and his colleagues like Joel Villanueva and Sonny Angara expressed full support for Gilas.

“Andito lang po kami para sumuporta sa national team,” said Go during the hearing also attended by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Noli Eala, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, and SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, among others.

“Sana po manalo uli tayo sa SEA Games. Sa Asian Games alam kong kaya din natin and of course sa FIBA World Cup, sana umabot tayo sa semifinals o sa finals. Long shot pero alam kong pag nagkaisa tayo, kaya,” Go added.

Reyes said Gilas should always be at its best.

“For example, sa Southeast Asian Games sa May (2023), if we have Justin Brownlee, malaki pag-asa natin ma-reclaim yung gold. Another is Cameron Oliver, 6-8, 6-9 player. They’re already willing and hopefully they can compete,” said Reyes.

During the same hearing, Eala assured the senators that the new PSC board will fulfill their duties of taking care of Philippine sports and the national athletes.

“It is our mission to carry out the mandates given to us by law to develop and promote sports in the grassroots as a tool towards nation-building and unity, and to ensure full and enhanced support for our (elite) athletes in their continued quest to bring honor and glory to our country,” said Eala.

Eala said Go and the senators pledged their full support for the PSC and it’s 2023 budget as well as the country’s FIBA World Cup hosting next year.

“I am heartened that this committee has provided so much support to Philippine sports, not only in legislative initiatives but also in terms of financial assistance,” said Eala.

Go reiterated his belief that “investing in sports (will) not only enable us to develop world-class athletes but it also helps us in keeping our youth away from illegal drugs and other harmful vices.”




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