The PBA aims to help the new-look Gilas Pilipinas gain more exposure as part of its commitment to further strengthen the national team program.
Commissioner Willie Marcial told Tiebreaker Times that the league could have them play as a guest team in next season’s first conference.
“Para makapaglaro sa atin at magkaroon ng experience,” the amiable chief said moments after the PBA board of governors’ meeting Monday.
The team will be bannered by the five players selected in the Gilas draft in 2019 – namely Isaac Go, Nieto twins Matt and Mike, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte.
The other five, meanwhile, will come from the special round in this year’s draft proceedings, taking place in a virtual setting.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio has told the board that they will pick around “three to five” players and that they will send the list of the names to the league “in two to three days,” Marcial said.
Among the expected inclusion in this year’s Gilas draft are former NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana, William Navarro, and Jaydee Tungcab. All three played in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ November window in Bahrain.
This isn’t the first time that Asia’s pioneering pro league opened its doors for the national team. It brought in the famed Northern Cement squad in 1984-85, and did the same with the Rajko Toroman-mentored Gilas back in 2011.
Marcial said that the present-day Nationals are also eligible to become PBA champions, just like the NCC when it lorded over the 1985 Reinforced Conference after sweeping Manila Beer in four games.
Still, Gilas’ participation depends on its availability as it is also gearing up for future tilts, Marcial said. But the league is encouraging them to take part.