PBA keeps door open for Gilas participation in PH Cup

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the door remains open for Gilas Pilipinas to compete for the title as a guest team in the league's 46th season.

Marcial said Gilas is still welcome to participate under the original arrangement that will allow the all-Cadet squad to battle it with the pros in the planned two-conference season.

“Gusto namin yun na regular silang kasali at pwedeng mag-champion. Okay sa amin yun (We would like to have Gilas play as a regular participant that can compete for the championship),” Marcial said in the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum Tuesday, April 27.

The PBA initially invited Gilas to play as a guest team in the season-opening Philippine Cup but Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said the team declined the offer due to its earlier preparation plans for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

But Gilas has been limited to holding training bubbles, which resumed this week at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, and the Qualifiers and OQT schedule could run smack with the PBA if the season starts as early as next month.

So far, the current arrangement in the event Gilas accepts the invitation is for them to play tune-up games against PBA squads.

“Siguro mga 8 or 10 games lang sila, o baka lesser pa (They might play 8-10 games, or maybe less),” Marcial said. 

“Pero tignan natin, depende pa rin yun sa kanilang practices at kung ano yung programa nila, kung hindi sila maga-abroad. Pero palagay ko, wala pang maga-abroad (The situation still depend on their practices and programs or if they do not go abroad),” he added.