The PBA board will convene today in a special meeting to discuss the participation of Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) set a month prior to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The national team of head coach Tab Baldwin earned a spot in the OQT after finishing second overall behind China in the previous FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan recently asked the “basketball community” to be united in sending a strong national team in the OQT and the telecommunications mogul even suggested in hosting one of the three events here.
The SBP has until Oct. 18 to confirm its participation for the OQT, or face the possibility of sanctions from FIBA.
A total of 18 teams will see action in the OQT, 15 qualified squads and three from host nations.
“One topic – Gilas,” said PBA President and CEO Chito Salud said yesterday during the PBA Press Conference for the 41st Season at the Diamond Hotel in Roxas Blvd., in Manila.
According to Non, however, he would personally suggest to his fellow board members for Baldwin to select 11 players to the national team right away plus the five reserves.
“Mas maganda kung alam na ng players na lalaro sila for the national team, we’ll have reserves in the event of injuries. That’s my personal view, it’s up for approval for the board,” said Non.
The OQT will be played in three cities, with six teams per group – including the teams from the host nation. Only the top finishers in the July 4 to 10 will earn a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
On the other hand, NLEX representative Ramon Fernandez – the PBA board treasurer – said that the SBP would probably discuss the status of naturalized player Andray Blatche, whose contract with Gilas is per tournament.
The 6-foot-11 Blatche played for the national team in the Asian championship, his second stint with Gilas after he initially played in the FIBA World Cup in Spain back in 2014.