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04:05 PM June 12, 2013

Don’t expect pros to be in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar late this year.

Just a day after Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia expressed his desire to see Gilas Pilipinas represent the country in the biennial meet, the sport’s leaders said it may be wishful thinking.


“I doubt it,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud. “The PBA will be in the middle of the 2014 Philippine Cup.”

The 2014 PBA season, which will start late due to the country’s hosting of the FIBA Asia men’s championship in August, will only be on its fourth week of hostilities, not even halfway through the Philippine Cup eliminations, when the SEA Games open on December 11.

Instead of sending the pros, the PBA chief believes the usual practice of assembling collegiate and commercial league standouts will be best.

“Perhaps it’s time for our younger, future national team players to be tested there,” Salud added.

PSC chair Garcia brushed aside comments of “overkill,” saying Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the SEA Games would gain us more pride and prove we’re the best in the region.”

Even Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios thinks the possibility of seeing Gilas in the SEA Games is quite far-fetched.

“Since the time SBP was formed, it was agreed by all the stakeholders that the PBA will be for the elite regional and/or world competitions. The other stakeholders can take care of the smaller competitions,” explained Barrios.

PBA-backed national teams have played in two SEABA meets in the past, but these were qualifiers to the FIBA Asia meets. However, no Philippine team made up mostly of PBA players has ever joined the SEA Games basketball competitions. (JL)


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