By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will sacrifice a portion of its upcoming Season 48 to show support to the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team that will compete in the FIBA Basketball World Cup next year.
Instead of a three-conference format, league commissioner Willie Marcial announced that the board of governors and the committee already decided on a two-conference PBA Season 48.
Marcial explained that this move is to allow the PHL national basketball team more time to prepare and hold their intensive training camp in January-July 2023.
“Yan ang nakita rin natin na maitutulong natin sa Gilas. Iyang tulong natin, para sa preparasyon for 2023. ‘Yun ang talagang inaano ng Board,” Marcial said.
The PBA will then kick off its Season 48 in September next year, but it has yet to decide whether the Commissioner’s or Governor’s Cup will be scrapped.
Aside from adjusting its calendar schedule for Season 48, the recent move will also help Gilas acquire more players from the league to be included in their final playing pool for the World Cup.
During the recently concluded FIBA Asia Cup where Gilas failed to enter the quarterfinals for the first time in 15 years, only a limited number of professional players were able to join the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) due to the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup conference.
With the last conference of the Season 47 anticipated to end in May next year, the SBP together with head coach Chot Reyes will have the luxury to pick all their desired members for the national team without any PBA schedule conflict.
“Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa mga team owners na kahit noon pa nung nagka-COVID tayo, sumuporta, tapos ito ulit, sumuporta ‘yung mga team owners natin para sa Gilas, para sa bayan,” Marcial added.