The preparations of Team Philippines for the next window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers are expected to begin shortly after national coach Yeng Guiao presents his program in a special meeting with the PBA board of governors, Tuesday at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.
The Nationals resume their chase for a spot in the 2019 World Cup in China with back-to-back home games at the MOA Arena in Pasay City against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3.
Guiao is expected to name his pool of 18 to 20 players during the meeting to be presided by TNT KaTropa’s Ricky Vargas, who has just been given one-year extension as chairman of the PBA board.
“Of course, the PBA governors want to know who will be the players in the pool for these players to be notified.
“The board also wants to know the program and the practices. Pero kahit sino ang players na tawagin, for sure ibibigay yan ng PBA,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.
But even before the meeting with the national coach, the PBA has also decided to take a break from Nov. 17 to Dec. 4 to give way to the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. “It may be pushed to Nov. 19 if we’re to have a playoff game for the last quarterfinal berth,” said Marcial.
The PBA takes a breather on Wednesday and Friday in observance of the All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The Governors’ Cup elimination round concludes with the double-headers on Saturday and Sunday.
The NLEX Road Warriors will tangle with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, followed by the San Miguel Beermen taking on the Meralco Bolts on Saturday. The Phoenix Fuel Masters will mix it up with the Blackwater Elite, then the TNT KaTropa slug it out with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday.
Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and Troy Rosario – national players who have served out their suspensions by FIBA – are tipped to join the pool of players utilized by Guiao in the last FIBA widow where Team Philippines clashed with Iran and Qatar.
Christian Standhardinger, Paul Lee, Alex Cabagnot, Gabe Norwood, Scottie Thompson, Poy Erram, Ian Sangalang, Marcio Lassiter, Raymond Almazan, Allein Malicsi, Beau Belga, and Asi Taulava formed the Gilas team that dropped a 73-81 loss to Iran in Tehran on September 13.
In the next game, where the Nationals clobbered the Qataris, 92-81, in a closed-door match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sept. 17, Stanley Pringle, Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright took over from Standhardinger, Almazan and Malicsi.
Also expected to be included in the new pool are June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter.
Marcial assured the PBA is throwing its full support to the national team in a bid to make another World Cup stint.
Also on the agenda on Tuesday’s meeting is to finalize new policies on draft eligibility.
One proposal is setting the age limit to at least 22, or at any age once the draft applicant has completed his five-year collegiate eligibility. Eligible players will be given a two-year grace period within which they may apply for the draft once they are declared eligible.
It was also proposed to impose a one-year grace period for a player to return to the PBA after moving to another league.
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