With Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 set to become an all-PBA team soon, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is now working with the league regarding the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria in May.
Federation president Al Panlilio said as much on Tuesday in a virtual press conference held at the conclusion of the PBA Board of Governors’ two-day planning session at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City.
“We’re really asking for four to five players that will be PBA players by the time that we’re starting this training program,” he said.
Four of the six players that comprise the OQT-bound squad include the Philippines’ top-ranked 3×3 players — namely Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, former PBA player Karl Dehesa, and Leonard Santillan.
Munzon, Pasaol, and Santillan are all taking their talents to Asia’s first pro league through the Rookie Draft on Sunday. Munzon is the consensus top pick, while the two are projected as first-round selections.
Completing Gilas 3×3 are PBA players Mo Tautuaa and CJ Perez, the now-San Miguel Beer teammates. The two made up half of the crew that ruled the 3×3 competition in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila.
“So if you look there, that list of six names, five of those names after the Draft will be all PBA players,” said Panlilio, who is also the governor of Meralco.
The amiable executive said that the SBP is about to borrow the PBA players from their respective mother teams for about two weeks for the May 26-30 meet. Three tickets to the Tokyo Olympics are up for grabs.
Both camps will look for a compromise, since the tourney could coincide with the league’s 46th season targeted to open on April 11.
“They will be gone for at least two weeks or fifteen days just to be able to participate in the OQT, plus the preparations needed,” said Panlilio. “You’ll have to borrow them from their respective mother teams for practice.
“So, that is what we’ve asked the PBA. We need to work with the league for them to be able to participate.”