Thursday, May 24, 2012

PBA Will Support Smart Gilas 2 Program

To show its commitment to the national cause, the PBA has adjusted its 2012-13 schedule this early to accomodate the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program.

“We have already calendared our events for next year,” PBA commissioner Chito Salud told InterAKTV. “The league will start September 30, 2012 and will end July 28, 2013.”

According to Salud, that will give enough time for PBA players who are part of the national pool to practice with the team, which is scheduled to compete in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. At stake in the biennial cage meet are three spots to the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014.

The schedule for the FIBA Asia tournament has not been finalized. Last year, the competition was held from September 15-25 in Wuhan, China.

Salud added that pool players from squads that have already been eliminated would be free to join practice.

Incoming SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes named 16 PBA players to be part of the pool. Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, and Kelly Williams of Talk ‘N Text, LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss of Alaska, Enrico Villanueva of Barangay Ginebra, Gary David of Powerade and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine have signed a letter of intent to join the squad. Other players named to the pool are James Yap and Marc Pingris of B-MEG, and Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter of Petron.

Reyes will also name a cadet squad of top amateur players to be part of the pool.

In an earlier interview, former SMART-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman told InterAKTV that PBA players joining the national team would need shorter time to prepare for a high-level cage competition.

“Even in Europe, players are also playing for their respective club teams and would only prepare for three months, so I think it would be enough time as well for the PBA players,” he said.

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