By Jerome Lagunzad
If he could only have his way, PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial wants all pro league teams to throw their full support for Gilas Pilipinas program by making all the players that national team coach Chot Reyes desires available.
Under the current agreement between the pro league’s Board and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, each pro league team is mandated to lend one veteran cager and a cadet member who’s been earlier determined by Gilas coaching staff.
This time, Marcial, 56, is hoping that set-up will be improved – sooner than later – as the Nationals continue their quest of earning a precious berth in next year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
“Wishful thinking ko lang naman ‘to pero sana pumayag na ‘yung lahat ng teams na wala ng limit-limit sa mga players for the national team,” said the pro league caretaker yesterday in the resumption of the PSA Forum at the Tapa King branch Araneta Center, Quezon City.
“Sa current set-up kasi, one cadet and one pro lang. Sana mawala na ‘yun. Kung ilan ang kailangan (ng Gilas), sana pumayag na ‘yung mga teams. Malaking bagay rin kasi ‘yun sa national team. At kami naman, sa PBA, todo suporta sa national team.”
If things will fall according to Marcial’s plan, Reyes, 54, could have a bigger and deeper training pool if and when the likes of Magnolia star Paul Lee, San Miguel Beer sniper Marcio Lassiter and Ginebra center Greg Slaughter have been made available for the national cause.
“Ipi-pitch in namin ‘yan sa Board meeting (set on January 25). As of now, okay naman ang Gilas program. Pero malaking bagay pa rin kung makukuha ni coach Chot ‘yung mga players na kailangan at gusto niya talaga,” added Marcial in the weekly public service program supported by Tapa King, PAGCOR and San Miguel Corp.
Meanwhile, Tapa King vice chairman Julius Magallanes, who shared center stage with Marcial and members of the PBA Technical Committee like Eric Castro, Jun Bengua and Roscelle Teotico, expressed optimism about their initial partnership with the country’s oldest media organization.