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Pangilinan calls recent Gilas developments "sad day"

Mars Callo/Astig.PH (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Manny Pangilinan summarized the latest Gilas news in one phrase: a sad day.

The chief backer of Gilas Pilipinas tweeted his disappointment on the newest developments to the national team late Friday night.

"[This is a] sad day for Phil. basketball," Pangilinan said in his tweet late Friday night, hours after reports surfaced that Marc Pingris backed out for the FIBA Asia Championship buildup to concentrate on Star's preparation for the upcoming PBA season.

Spin.PH's Karlo Sacamos reported that Pingris once again failed to show up in national team training on Friday, the day when he was supposed to formally announce his decision to beg off according to his agent Ed Ponceja, prompting Coach Tab Baldwin to set a deadline for Pingris and several others to attend the national team practice.

Star is one of three teams owned by the San Miguel Corporation, a known rival of the MVP Group of Companies, and many claim that the Cojuangco-owned company headed by Ramon Ang is keeping all of its star players from joining Gilas. Ginebra's L.A. Tenorio and San Miguel's Junemar Fajardo had already requested to back out from Gilas due to respective heath issues.

On the other hand, Pangilinan expressed gratitude to the executives of the other PBA clubs for lending their key men to the national team.

"Thank you to the teams which helped the national cause," he further tweeted.

In an interview with TV 5's Luchi Cruz-Valdes, Pangilinan bared that a FIBA official asked him last week if Gilas can build a strong lineup for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, hinting that the basketball-governing body might have already heard of Gilas' lineup struggles.

The Philippines, which went winless in its most recent hosting of the said tournament in 1978, lost to China for the hosting right of the 2019 edition.