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SBP welcomes Senate inquiry

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) guaranteed its full cooperation on the Senate’s looming investigation on Gilas Pilipinas following its lackluster performance in the international arena.

Gilas Pilipinas deputy executive director Butch Antonio made the assurance, saying that they will cooperate with the probe that was filed by Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Mark Villar, Joel Villanueva, Francis Tolentino and Alan Peter Cayetano.

Interestingly, another lawmaker in Sen. Sonny Angara stands as chairman of the national cage federation that is headed by Al Panlilio with Manny Pangilinan as chairperson emeritus.

Antonio, however, said they have yet to sit down to discuss their plans.

“Of course, we will cooperate with the investigation,” Antonio said in a short message.

The Gilas program has been under fire with only a year left before the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup that would be co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from 25 August to 10 September.

Led by head coach Chot Reyes, the Filipino cagers saw their regional dynasty come to an end after getting dethroned by Indonesia in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi in May.

It was followed by another disastrous performance in the FIBA Asia Cup last month, where the cagers finished outside the top eight of the continental tourney for the first time since 2007.

The SBP already held a general assembly with various league officials and stakeholders to assure everyone’s commitment to its bid of forming the best Gilas lineup for the world championships.

The Philippine Basketball Association, for its part, had already made all its players available and will be staging a two-conference season next year to give way for the Gilas’ World Cup buildup.

Collegiate leagues such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association and University Athletic Association of the Philippines, meanwhile, made sure that players selected from their leagues can join Gilas once they are tapped by the federation.

A separate report also had it that San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua has been appointed executive advisor for Gilas program.

Chua’s presence is expected to boost the team’s program while Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone will join the think tank of Reyes and assistant coaches Nenad Vucinic, Jong Uichico and Goldwyn Monteverde.

“Showcasing the Philippines, this will be the biggest basketball event to be hosted in the country. Since 1978, we have not hosted a tournament of this magnitude,” Panlilio said in a statement a day after presiding over the stakeholders meeting.

“We only have 389 days from the actual tip-off and I do appeal to all the stakeholders in basketball to come together and really unify in this effort.”

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