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SBP puts SEAG squad on hold

Photo Courtesy: Malaya

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is neck-deep in preparations for the hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup that management has yet to discuss matters pertaining to the formation of a team for the Asian Games and much more the next Southeast Asian Games which takes place in 2025.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said yesterday that while Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes has suggested that collegiate players should make up the 2025 SEA Games squad, the issue has yet to be tackled.

“We are still focused on the World Cup and Gilas management and coaching staff haven’t even discussed the matter of the Asian Games, which will come a month after the World Cup, so definitely we haven’t talked about yet on the suggestions of putting up younger players for the SEA Games, which will happen two years from now,” said Barrios in a telephone interview.

Still, Barrios is not shutting the door on the proposal of Reyes, who called the shots during the Philippines’ successful bid in the 32nd SEA Games recently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“But we would like to see that formal proposal from Chot, but again, our immediate focus right now is the World Cup as we are not just bent on putting up our best team, but we’re also poised to come up to display our world-class hosting skills as we’re co-hosting this big event.”

In the past, collegiate players comprised the SEA games team but the vast improvement of other nations like Thailand and Indonesia compelled basketball officials to form a solid crew composed of stars from the Philippine Basketball Association.

The need to shore up the roster was validated in the Hanoi SEAG last year when Indonesia, spiked by Marcus Bolden, upset the Philippines.

In Phnom Penh, Gilas had to field naturalized player Justin Brownlee to reclaim the SEAG supremacy.

But with the World Cup just a few months away, the suggestion of Reyes, which was backed by the Philippine Olympic Committee, will have to be put in the freezer.

The World Cup will run from 25 August until 10 September while the Asian Games will get off the ground two weeks later in Hangzhou, China.

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