Friday, October 31, 2014

Chot Reyes out, Gilas Pilipinas squad disbanded but the program goes on

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Thursday said it is currently searching for a new coach and a new Gilas Pilipinas team as it announced the selection of a formation committee that will oversee the assembly of the next national basketball squad.
The announcement effectively "disbanded" the national team that finished second in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and removed Chot Reyes as national team coach.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud made the announcement on Thursday. “I have met Mr. Pangilinan after talking and consulting with all the (PBA) team owners and relay to Mr. Pangilinan the comments, observation and inputs of team owners," said Salud after emerging from the weekly board meeting held at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City. 

“These comments and sentiments were received openly by Mr. Pangilinan, and during last Tuesday’s SBP board of trustees meeting, in response, to the comments and suggestions made by the PBA team owners, the SBP has approved the creation of a committee tasked to select the head coach of the national team and players from the PBA that would form the national pool,” Salud added. 

The disbandment essentially put an end to the reign of Reyes, who led Gilas to a Jones Cup championship, a runner-up finish in the FIBA-Asia championships, and a historic win over Senegal in the FIBA World Cup before the team slumped to a seventh-place finish in the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. 

Salud did not reveal the reason behind the disbandment, but it is clear the tumultuous events surrounding Reyes in Gilas' meltdown in Incheon played a big hand in SBP and Pangilinan's decision. Salud said the selection committee, whose members would more likely include himself, SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas, executive director Sonny Barrios and current PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio and vice-chairman Robert Non, will convene immediately next month. 

The screening-selection committee composed of SBP board members representing the UAAP, NCAA, CESAFI, NAASCU and the SBP, through executive director Sonny Barrios, will oversee the team selection not involving PBA players.

Among the key tournaments SBP is preparing for are the 28th Southeast Asian Games in June 2015 and the 28th FIBA Asia Championship in China in August 2015. The FIBA Asia tilt will serve as the regional qualifier to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The committees, according to the SBP, will short-list candidates for players and coach for submission to the SBP Executive Committee made up of the SBP chairman, president, vice chairman, vice president and executive director “for ultimate final approval" of the SBP Board of Trustees.

The commissioner said the selection committee intends to fast-track the appointment of the new coach and formation of the new pool in time for the SBP’s national board meeting in December. 

At the same time, Salud said the PBA is willing to adjust its season calendar in order to give way to the new Gilas Pilipinas squad’s buildup for the 2015 Fiba-Asia men’s basketball championships in China in late August. The Fiba-Asia tourney will serve as the qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “If end ng August iyan, (ang Fiba-Asia), puwedeng mag-compress na lang tayo para matapos tayo ng July, so may dalawang buwan na training (ang Gilas),” said Salud.


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