TAIPEI — The PBA Board of Governors has given its green light to release all players listed in the 24-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the first ever FIBA Asia Cup on August 8-20 in Beirut, Lebanon.
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa made the announcement yesterday in a development warmly welcomed by Gilas mentor Chot Reyes.
“All the PBA teams are supporting (the national team) for the FIBA Asia. All the teams, after explaining, they just have to aware of what’s happening,” said Narvasa in a teleconference from Manila with the reporters covering the William Jones Cup here.
A few weeks ago, Reyes named the 24 players for the FIBA Asia Cup, the first tournament to be held every four years that will combine the top teams from Asia and Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand, battle for supremacy and bragging rights.
The players on the pool are PBA veterans June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, Troy Rosario, Calvin Abueva, Jayson Castro, and Terrence Romeo, as well as rookies Jio Jalalon, Matthew Wright, and RR Pogoy – all part of the SEABA champion squad.
Also in the pool for the Asia Cup are PBA players Gabe Norwood, Norbert Torres, Kevin Alas, Baser Amer, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Chris Tolomia and Carl Bryan Cruz, and naturalized players Andray Blatche and Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger.
Completing the list are amateur stalwarts Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Kiefer Ravena and Kobe Paras.
According to the PBA commissioner, the decision to release the PBA players – particularly the veterans – is based on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that the league signed with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to make the 12 veterans available 15 days before the event and the ‘cadets’ two months before the start of the tournament.
Narvasa said that the board would also discuss the schedule for the season-ending Governors’ Cup – set to start today – because of conflict with the Asia Cup.
“That’s another problem (specific schedule). Now we have to make an adjustment this conference. We made a proposal to accommodate again, incorporate it with the FIBA schedule,” said Narvasa, adding that the league will begin its 2017-18 Season in December to give way to the FIBA ‘home and away’ meet on Nov. 27.