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PBA approves Chot proposal



(PBA Images)

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) formally approved the inclusion of some TNT Tropang Giga players to represent the country in the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers later this month.

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said the board of governors unanimously agreed to approve Gilas Pilipinas and Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes’ proposal of fielding several TNT players for the first window of the qualifiers from 24 to 28 February.

Vargas said the league is willing to adjust the Tropang Giga’s schedule in the Governors’ Cup to give way for their preparations with the national team.

The reinforced conference is set to resume on 11 February at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“The PBA once again will adjust its schedule to allow some players from TNT to play with Gilas, not only during the window, but also during the practice,” Vargas said in a virtual press conference on Friday.

“It was a unanimous decision of the board to support this thing. But as we commit with Gilas, PBA games will still continue.”

“We’ll adjust their scheduling to allow TNT to play as many games as they can so that they can go out early for the February window.”

The Tropang Giga have already started their bubble training at the Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa City in Batangas following the government’s downgrade to Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila and fringe provinces early this week.

Also joining the Malarayat bubble are national team standouts like big man Angelo Kouame, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Dwight Ramos, Will Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab and Tzaddy Rangel.

Joining Reyes in the coaching staff are Gilas assistant coach Jong Uichico and Serbian tactician Nenad Vucinic.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, meanwhile, bared that they are also coordinating with collegiate leagues like the University Athletic Association (UAAP) and National Collegiate Athletic Association for possible addition of players to the squad.

Among the players being eyed are Gilas big men Carl Tamayo of the University of the Philippines and Justine Baltazar of the De La Salle University.

Panlilio welcomed the PBA’s decision as the league’s support will help Gilas produce the best squad despite the exodus of other Gilas players abroad.

“It cannot be SBP alone, you have to have partnerships with entities like PBA to make it happen. We would like to thank the PBA and the board for always being there,” Panlilio said.

“We’re looking for the best talents in the country and pushing for that program. In the end, it’s really for the sake of the national team.”