Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios said their decision to revive the Gilas Cadet program is largely because of the impending changes in the FIBA calendar.
The local basketball federation is close to finalizing its 14-man Gilas Cadet roster made up of top amateur players that will compete in next year’s home-and-away qualifier for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
No less than SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan, the telecommunication mogul, made the announcement last week about the Gilas Cadet, and SBP deputy director for international affairs Butch Antonio confirmed the approval of budget for the program.
“It’s about forming a permanent national team dedicated for international competitions. It’s borne out of necessity because of the new calendar of FIBA. Obviously, hindi pwede ang PBA players four times a year (tournament). Ikaw man si PBA hindi pwede,” said Barrios.
Although the SBP has not released the name of players they are targeting for the Gilas Cadet program, sources said the list would most likely include Fil-Am Ray Parks Jr., Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Jio Jalalon and Von Pessumal.
If the program pushes through and the players agree to be part of it, that means these amateurs would skip the PBA Rookie Draft this year and until they finish their responsibility with the national team.
Barrios said that there are plans for a meeting between the SBP and officials of the PBA.
“There are talks that we will sit down. Exactly when, hindi ko pa alam. Informally, (PBA) Commissioner Chito Narvasa and I agreed to meet. I suppose we’ll sit down soon. We have to find a common free time,” said Barrios.