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SBP awarded SEABA hosting rights

access_time 23-01-2017, 16:22 chat_bubble_outline 170 views
SBP awarded SEABA hosting rights

SBP deputy executive director Butch Antonio and SBP executive director Sonny Barrios in this file photo.

MANILA, Philippines – The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on Monday was awarded the hosting rights for both the SEABA men's and under-16 championships on April 23-30 in a key development providing Gilas Pilipinas an opportunity to jump start its buildup for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and the succeeding new FIBA qualifying competition for the 2019 World Cup.

Receiving the notice from SEABA secretary general Dato Yeoh Choo Hock Monday afternoon, the office of the SBP executive director immediately set a meeting today to discuss hosting details, including the playing venue.

"It's just a seven or eight-team tournament and it's not difficult to handle. For the playing venue, it's either Manila or you bring it in the province. The options are open," SBP deputy executive director Butch Antonio told The STAR.

Gilas coach Chot Reyes said they're not taking the SEABA tourney for granted as it offers just one slot to the Asia Cup in Beirut in August. The Asia Cup, in turn, serves as the qualifier for the Division I play under the new FIBA competition system.

"It's either you win the SEABA or you don't go to Asia Cup," said Reyes, who is to start Gilas training next month with the SEABA tourney set in April.

Under the agreement of the SBP and the PBA, the Gilas cadet players will be released to the national team two months before a tourney. The 12 additional players named Sunday, meanwhile, will be made available to the training pool a month before the competition.

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The SBP has hosted the FIBA Asia Championship in 2013 and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2016 but not yet the SEABA men's championship featuring Southeast Asian teams including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Timor Leste.

The Philippines is a super power in the region, winning each of the last seven SEABA championships participated in by the country.

But Reyes has noticed that the country's SEABA rivals have narrowed the gap. Curiously, even with naturalized player Marcus Douthit, Team Phl barely beat Thailand, 80-75, in the semifinals then barely squeezed out a 72-64 triumph over Indonesia in the gold-medal game in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Coach Tab Baldwin had at his disposal then Douthit, Troy Rosario, Kiefer Ravena, Mark Belo, Scottie Thompson, Norbert Torres, Glenn Khobuntin, Kevin Ferrer, Almond Vosotros, Jio Jalalon, Baser Amer and Paolo Rivero.

In the coming SEABA, Reyes said he's fielding the strongest team he can form, and this may include June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Jason Castro, Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Paul Lee and Raymond Almazan.

Reyes said he's also tapping in Andray Blatche if there's no conflict in his schedule with his team in the Chinese league.

SEABA has been held in the country once in 1998 when the national federation was still known as the Basketball Association of the Philippines. The host topped the event held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The SBP was awarded the SEABA hosting rights a day after naming a new 24-man training roster.

Fajardo, Aguilar, Castro, Romeo, Abueva, Lee and Almazan, along with Phoenix Fuel's Torres, Mahindra guard LA Revilla, Meralco rookie gunner Jonathan Grey, Blackwater sophomore forward Art dela Cruz and NLEX's Bradwyn Guinto, were tapped in as additions to the initial Gilas cadet roster made up of Belo, Jalalon, Ferrer, Matthew Wright, Ed Daquiaog, Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy, Carl Bryan Cruz, Russel Escoto, Arnold Van Opstal, Von Pessumal and Al Gotladera.

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