PBA to meet with SBP 'ASAP' for Gilas' Asian Games lineup

After securing a place in next year's FIBA OQT, Gilas is now racing against time to build an Asian Games team. Kennelf Monteza
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--PBA commissioner Willie Marcial clarified that the PBA players comprising Gilas Pilipinas' team for the Asian Games will only be known in the coming days.

This is amid a rumor circulating that Magnolia players will make up the core of the team.

Marcial said on Monday that the league will only meet with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas this week to decide who is going to Hangzhou, China to don the Gilas blue-and-white.

"Magmi-meeting kami sigurado this week," said the commissioner, who graced the launch of the official FIBA World Cup Final game ball at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall.

However, with barely three weeks left before the Sept. 23 start of the Asian Games, Marcial wants the meeting to happen as soon as possible.

"It's either tonight or tomorrow (Tuesday). ASAP yun," Marcial further said. "Pipilitin kong tonight or tomorrow."

At the moment, only one player has assured himself of a spot in Gilas' Asian Games team: resident Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, the national team's naturalized player.

However, with Chot Reyes announcing on Saturday night that he is "stepping aside" from Gilas head coaching, the uncertainty remains, all the more after the surfacing of the Magnolia core rumor.

If confirmed, it could be some sort of a reward for the Hotshots, who dominated the PBA on Tour after going 11-0 in the preseason event.

One thing is really for sure, though: the Japan B.League players have ruled themselves out of the Asian Games.

Marcial, however, admitted that the PBA is just focusing currently on the Asian Games and is not thinking about the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers just yet.

"For now, ang usapan namin ay for the Asian Games," he further said.

The first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers will take place in November, right in the middle of the season-opening PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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