Full force in Cambodia

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Full force in Cambodia
Justin Brownlee
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Committed beyond the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and tournament proper, the PBA is ready to do its part in Gilas Pilipinas’ spirited bid to reclaim the lost gold in the Southeast Asian Games.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said the league’s best and brightest will be released to the national quintet for its redemption mission in the May 5 to 17 SEAG in Cambodia.

“Pipilitin natin na matapos (Governors’ Cup) by April 26 or 28 para sa SEA Games. So may (at least) isang linggo sila makapag-practice nang sama-sama (before the competition),” Marcial said in a press briefing Sunday night.

The PBA started its season-ending conference last Sunday, setting daily double-headers from Wednesdays to Sundays to meet its targeted finish.

Along the way, the pro league gave its blessing for players to join the 24-man training pool coach Chot Reyes formed for the sixth window of the World Cup Qualifiers slated Feb. 24 and 27 on home soil.

The pool, bannered by six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Season 46 MVP Scottie Thompson and naturalized player Justin Brownlee, was scheduled to begin once-a-week sessions with Gilas last night.

“Napag-usapan na namin ni coach Chot yung tungkol sa window (next month). Mag-mi-meeting pa uli kami kung paano naman sa SEA Games, pati na sa Asian Games (in September), sino ang gagamitin, paano ang practices,” said Marcial.

For the most immediate task, the PBA gave access to 11 players chosen by Reyes, who will do double duties for Gilas and their mother clubs’ business in the Governors’ Cup.

Three-time Best Import Brownlee, who’s tipped to make his Gilas debut in the home assignments against Lebanon and Jordan, is prepared to do this.

“I’m ready,” Brownlee said in an interview on One News’ The Big Story. “The good thing is, I’m in great shape, you know, just playing in the (Commissioner’s Cup) finals so I only probably needed about a week of rest so I’m pretty much ready.”

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