The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is planning a nationwide search for non-professional players to become part of the second incarnation of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program.
“We want to widen the search by tapping both the known and unknown players,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios. “The known players, of course, are those playing in the collegiate and amateur leagues, like those present members from the Sinag Pilipinas team that won the SEA Games gold medal and the unknown talents, who may have the potential, but have yet to be discovered.”
The planned search is scheduled after a new coach is named for a program in January. Among the candidates for the position are Rajko Toroman, who handled the program in its first three years and led the Philippine team to a fourth-place finish in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, Norman Black, who steered Sinag Pilipinas to the Southeast Asian Games gold medal, and Chot Reyes and Ryan Gregorio, the head coaches of PBA ballclubs bankrolled by SBP president Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“That should have been the first move, but it was also reset because our boss is very busy now,” said Barrios.
The coach will be instrumental in the formation of the national pool of non-PBA players.
The SBP will then work with the PBA on a list of players who will join the pool. PBA commissioner Chito Salud earlier committed 16 players who will reinforce the national team in high-level Asian competitions.
Barrios said that the choice of players from the PBA would be the last part of the process.
“It’s too early to do it,” said Barrios. “We still don’t know who will be the available PBA players are at that time. There will be a rookie draft coming in 2012, and the 2013 FIBA
Asia Championship is still more than a year from now.”