Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament has met with delight and joy from the local basketball community.
Even after a dark campaign in the 2019 World Cup, the country was lucky enough to still place sixth in the region. And when New Zealand backed out of the six-nation meet in Belgrade, Serbia, FIBA called on the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to step up.
But now the next question is, who will the SBP field in the OQT?
For Chris Ross, the federation should get the PBA players it needs and get them together as soon as possible.
“I think Gilas should get the guys from the PBA that they want to be in the final 12,” tweeted the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist.
This would be like the 2016 team that competed in the Manila OQT.
Back then, naturalized big man Andray Blatche joined PBA pros Japeth Aguilar, Jayson Castro, Jeff Chan, Ranidel De Ocampo, June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Marc Pingris, Ryan Reyes, and Terrence Romeo. Completing the squad were then-amateurs Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and Troy Rosario.
For PBA players, though, they also worry that the OQT’s schedule will affect the PBA’s anew. The Belgrade OQT will take place from June 29 to July 4.
“Wonder what the Olympic Qualifying Tourney does to the start of the PBA season? Maybe a July start, or would we start in April and pause for however long for their build-up and tourney?” wondered the 12-year pro out of San Antonio, Texas.
But for Ross, the solution is simple.
Let Gilas compete in the PBA Philippine Cup, while teams losing their star players to the national team will get imports as replacements.
“Each team should get an import and Gilas competes in the PBA as a build-up for the tournament,” opined Ross.
It will also be hard for Gilas to train abroad due to the travel restrictions set by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.