SBP to tap Kings, Tropa, Beermen players to suit up for Gilas

Photo by Rio Deluvio / Daily Tribune
Photo by Rio Deluvio / Daily Tribune

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will tap players from three professional teams – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, San Miguel Beer and TNT Tropang Giga – to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

A reliable Daily Tribune source on Wednesday, 14 September made the confirmation, saying that the federation already reached out to the Kings, Beermen, and Tropang Giga about the possibility of seeing action in the fifth window set from 10 to 13 November.

The source refused to name names but confirmed that the SBP had already invited CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson of Ginebra and Roger Pogoy and Poy Erram of TNT to their weekly practice starting Monday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

In a board meeting last week, the Philippine Basketball Association allowed Gilas Pilipinas program director Chot Reyes to assemble a team that will be reinforced by professional players from a maximum of three PBA teams.

Aside from the PBA players, the federation will also invite stalwarts from Japan like Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, and Ray Parks as well as University Athletic Association of the Philippines standouts like Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo to round out the Gilas Pilipinas roster for the fifth window.

The source said the agreement forged among the SBP, the PBA board of governors and San Miguel Corporation made the availability of the Kings and the Beermen possible.

"Based on their discussion, the SBP will get players from San Miguel, Ginebra and TNT," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity for lack of clearance from ranking federation officials.

"In fact, they already talked to the players like Fajardo and Perez of San Miguel. They are now inviting them to their weekly practice. I think they will start training this Monday."

The source added that SMC, through its president Ramon Ang, had long informed teams under its umbrella – San Miguel, Ginebra and Magnolia — to make all their players available for national duty.

"Even before forging an agreement with the SBP and the PBA, Boss RSA (Ang) already made his players available for the national team," the source said.

"His marching order was clear and simple: For as long as they are not injured, you should let them go and allow them to play for the country."

Based on the schedule of the upcoming Commissioner's Cup released by the PBA on Wednesday, it appears that the SBP is really poised to tap Ginebra, San Miguel and TNT players for the fifth window.

In fact, the three teams will take a break from their campaign after 6 November with TNT's last game before the window set on 5 November against Terrafirma while Ginebra and San Miguel will clash the following day.

TNT and San Miguel will return to action on 16 November against NLEX and Magnolia, respectively, while Ginebra will return to action on 18 November against Blackwater.

Gilas Pilipinas will be facing Jordan in Amman on 10 November before colliding with Saudi Arabia in Dammam on the 13th.

"Now, we already have an assurance that everybody that we will pick will be allowed by their respective teams to play," Reyes said when he appeared in a Senate hearing last Monday.

Daily Tribune tried but Reyes begged off from issuing a statement, saying that questions should be directed to SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.

Barrios, for his part, was also mum on the issue since Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff is on a "much-needed break."

"No word yet regarding PBA teams," he said.

"Coaching staff is still on a much-needed break."

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