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SBP suddenly pulls Gilas out of Asian Games

All of a sudden, we won't be seeing the ROS-powered Gilas squad in Indonesia next month. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

NASUGBU--Just when everyone thought Gilas Pilipinas' participation in the Asian Games has already been settled, the SBP is suddenly pulling out the Rain Or Shine-backed Nationals.

In a statement late Thursday night, the SBP explained that the sudden withdrawal of Gilas' participation to the upcoming edition of the quadrennial meet in Jakarta is "to allow our national team and our organization to regroup, prepare for the process of appealing the FIBA disciplinary panel's recent decision, and aim for sustainable success in future tournaments--including the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and the 2023 FIBA World Cup."

The SBP further said, "With the forgoing considered and after consulting with the basketball community, the time and chance to participate in the 2018 Asian Games would not be optimal."

The SBP then issued an apology to the Asian Games organizers, to the Gilas fans, and the Asian basketball community.

"The SBP resolves to improve its systems, and to prepare programs that will better ensure respectable performances of our teams internationally, of which our countrymen can be truly proud," the statement further said.

Interestingly, the announcement came hours after the SBP may have just locked in its participation in the Asiad with its Gilas team finally taking shape.

SBP president Al Panlilio formally announced earlier Thursday that the Gilas lineup will be made mostly of the Elasto Painters' key players with their former mentor, current NLEX Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao, taking charge.

"We thank Rain Or Shine, especially its owners Terry Que and Raymond Yu, as well as NLEX coach Yeng Guiao and Rain Or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, for expressing their willingness to represent our nation in the upcoming Asian Games," the SBP expressed its gratitude despite the sudden cancellation of the participation.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno