Source : Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Smart Gilas Pilipinas is tapping Japeth Aguilar, Jarred Dillinger, Sol Mercado and Jeff Chan as addition to the national pool that will be trained for two years in preparation for the Asian qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
“We’re making use of the 20 players offered by the PBA board. We’ll invite Aguilar, Dillinger, Chan and Mercado as addition to the 16 players we’ve earlier named to the pool,” team manager Butch Antonio told The STAR.
Talk n Text’s Kelly Williams, Jimmy Alapag, Jason Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier and Ryan Reyes, Powerade’s Gary David and Marcio Lassiter, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood, Ginebra’s Enrico Villanueva, Alaska’s LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss, B-Meg’s James Yap and Marc Pingris, and Petron’s Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot are the first 16 players named by coach Chot Reyes to the pool.
Williams, Alapag, Castro, De Ocampo, Fonacier, Reyes, David, Norwood, Villanueva, Tenorio and Thoss have signed a letter of commitment to join the squad.
They were supposed to have their first practice session Monday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig. The practice was cancelled, though, since Talk n Text and Barako Bull play the fourth game of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on that day.
“We have blocked off all Mondays up to December at the Ultra (Philsports Arena). We’re ready to start practicing for as long there’s no conflict with the PBA schedule,” said Antonio.
At the same time, Antonio said Talk n Text may be tapped to represent the country in the 2012 FIBA Asia Champions Cup set June 2-10 in Lebanon.
“Of course, we need the approval of the PBA Commissioner’s Office. We can’t field Smart Gilas since the Champions Cup is in conflict with the PBA third conference schedule. In Talk n Text’s case, maybe the PBA can adjust its schedule of game for this one particular team,” said Antonio.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deems Talk n Text as deserving to represent the country in the Asian inter-club tourney being the champion of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Philippines is going straight to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup since the SEABA Champions Cup had been cancelled with only the Philippines and Thailand signifying intention to compete.
“We’ve automatically qualified to the FIBA Asia tourney and we can’t back out. We’re already recognized by the FIBA and it’s not good to snub their event,” said Antonio.
“When we had Smart Gilas I, we had no problem in this situation since we always have a team ready to compete. Now, we’re trying to make the most of the situation,” Antonio also said.
The PBA board agreed to lend players to the national team only for as long as there’s no conflict with the PBA schedule.
The PBA third conference is opening May 20 or 21.