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Revised FIBA calendar a problem not just to Gilas
Tony Parker of France dribbles past Terrence Romeo of Gilas Pilipinas during their FIBA Olympic men's qualifying basketball tournament the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last year. France won 93-84. | PBA Media Bureau
MANILA, Philippines – The availability of premier players for the national team in the revised FIBA calendar is not a problem faced by the Philippines alone.
Add the European teams to those that need to be creative to be able to form a competitive for the qualifying tourneys for the 2019 FIBA World Cup as the Euro League finalized a 2017-18 calendar that runs smack with the FIBA windows of competition.
Also due to the conflict of the FIBA schedule with the NBA, USA Basketball has announced it is fielding just the NBA D-League players in the qualifiers for the world joust.
In a statement posted on www.fiba.com Friday, FIBA expressed disappointment on the Euro League decision.
“We were assured by ECA (Euroleague Commercial Assets)—in a letter signed on Nov. 10, 2016—that ‘ECA rules do not prevent or limit in any way the release of players to national teams competitions.
“Consequently, today’s decision clearly passes the responsibility for deciding whether or not to play for their national teams to the players themselves. This unnecessarily creates the potential for conflict between clubs on one hand, and players and the national federations on the other.
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“Being forced to choose whether to represent club or country places an unfair and unreasonable burden on players who should be free to achieve their best performance for both club and country,” the statement said.
It’s the very problem faced by the Philippines for the FIBA Asia Cup slated August 8-20 in Beirut, Lebanon, when the PBA Governors Cup is already ongoing.
The PBA board has agreed to release June Mar Fajardo and the other SEABA veterans to Gilas only in the FIBA qualifying tourneys for the World Cup.
PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa said the availability of players to the FIBA Asia Cup is a matter between Gilas and the PBA ball clubs.
Gilas has to be creative in filling an initial 24-man roster for the Asia Cup to be submitted to the FIBA Asia today since they have to consider the Southeast Asian Games with an interlapping schedule with the Beirut event.
But even without a guarantee of the availability of the PBA veterans to the Asia Cup, the Gilas management is likely to include Fajardo and the other SEABA players in the 24-man roster.
The delicate decision to be made is on the Final 12.
The worst-case scenario is some Gilas cadet players needing to suit up in both the FIBA Asia Cup and in the SEA Games.
With its deep pool of players, China has formed two sets of national teams that will play alternately in the FIBA home-and-away games.
On Twitter, FIBA writer Enzo Flojo noted Wednesday night “NLEX pummeling Gilas while China Blue are tied with an NBL-Australia selection.”
“Hirap talaga e (It’s really hard),” Reyes commented on his own Twitter account.
The Philippines and China are bracketed with Qatar and Iraq in the Asia Cup group plays.