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PBA: Narvasa, Panlilio in talks

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We want permanent solutions, says PBA chief.

PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa said yesterday that the discussion with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas would be constant as the two groups try to find a permanent solution to forming the national team for various international tournaments starting next year.

Narvasa met with SBP vice president Al Panlilio late Wednesday and the latter mentioned it would not be the last as pro league continues communicating with the SBP regarding the Gilas Pilipinas program.

“What we want to do is look for more suggestions and solutions. We’re actually looking for permanent solutions,” said Narvasa yesterday, adding that there was no decision on the matter.

Except for naturalized player Andray Blatche, the current Gilas national team preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) here next month comes from the PBA.

However, that setup of PBA players playing for Gilas would take a hit when FIBA starts its new format of non-stop competition every year instead of a single event qualifier for the World Cup and the Olympics.

It is with this in mind that that the SBP revived Gilas Cadet program made up of collegiate players intended for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

According to sources, the players the SBP is targeting include Keifer Ravena, Ray Parks, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Russel Escoto, Roger Pogoy, Jio Jalalon and Von Pessumal.

Reacting, some PBA officials and coaches expressed concern about the shallow pool of aspirants in the PBA rookie draft in October.

Rain or Shine owners Raymond Yu and Terry Que have already called for the league to revert to the two-conference format used from 2003 to 2010 to give the players time to serve the national team.

As for Alaska team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, amateur players being eyed for the Gilas Cadet pool should be allowed to join the draft although they would only be able to join their respective PBA teams after completing a three-year tour with the national team.

Uytengsu said players tabbed by the SBP would fulfill their respective obligations with Gilas Pilipinas, with their PBA teams keeping the rights to them should their time to turn pro arrive.

Panlilio gushed over the initial discussion with Narvasa.

“Great first meeting with Comm. Chito,” said Panlilio in a text message.

“We put on the table all options considering all suggestions. We both want to come up with a sustainable program moving forward good for both the national team and the PBA especially with the challenging new calendar of the FIBA tournaments.”