Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Manny V. Pangilinan believes the formation of a separate Gilas Pilipinas Cadet team is necessary so that the national team would not be entirely dependent on pros from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“I think it [formation of Gilas Cadet team]is the only viable option given the schedule by FIBA starting 2017,” Pangilinan told reporters. “If I recall correctly, sometime September and October there will be a schedule home and away for Gilas.”
After the hosting of 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament slated on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Pangilinan said that the SBP and the PBA under Commissioner Chito Narvasa would immediately discuss the possibility of forming the next national team.
Pangilinan added that the SBP is already considering some players from the collegiate ranks as potential members of the cadet team.
Players who will join the Gilas cadet program will sign a three-year contract and thus will be ineligible to join the PBA rookie draft until 2019 unless they will exit the national pool.
The cadet program was started in 2009 by the then national coach Rajko Toromon. It was abolished when Chot Reyes replaced Toromon in 2012. Reyes decided to use professional players from the PBA for the country’s campaign in FIBA tournaments. In 2014, Tab Baldwin replaced Reyes as national coach. The SBP board revived the Gilas Pilipinas
Cadet Program this year.
“Gilas will have games here and other countries and it will run smack to PBA schedules. So if we don’t form a separate team, it will disrupt the PBA and even NBA [National Basketball Association] schedules and the Euro league or the other leagues around the world,” Pangilinan added.
“We have no other choice but to form a separate team just like what we did during the time of Toromon in 2009. We should have an active pool from collegiate ranks although it will only have an impact on the PBA drafting in the first year. The sacrifice will be just in the first year.”
“But every time the Gilas Cadet refresh the national pool, there will be players who will be replaced or dropped and they might go to the PBA after a year,” he added.
But Pangilinan stressed that the SBP is not excluding the possibility of the national team getting professional players from the PBA as long as there is no conflict in schedule. “I guess it is going to happen on 2019 during FIBA World Cup in China, maybe the PBA will take a break during that time.”
“It is very hard for any team in the PBA if we’re just going to get their players while playing a crucial game like in the finals that’s why we need this cadet team,” Pangilinan concluded.