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How Gilas would look like


If you go for young players whom you can train and develop, it’s going to be tough as the most you can keep a hold of them as a unit is around three to five years.


Forming Gilas Pilipinas isn’t as easy as it sounds.

We tried sending the young players before but they couldn’t stay together longer than expected.

We tried putting up the best and brightest players from the Philippine Basketball Association but it didn’t guarantee immediate success.

How the new Gilas Pilipinas will look like starting this year is making basketball-loving Filipinos curious about the steps that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will take in building an ideal team.

First, the country’s governing body in basketball is looking to identify the coach. Although no formal announcement had been made, Tim Cone — the winningest mentor in PBA history who led Gilas to a historic gold medal in the 19th Asian Games — had already been interviewed for the position.

Of course, getting interviewed for the job is not a guarantee of getting chosen. But the track record of the American mentor would be more than enough to make him a cinch to continue his coaching chores with the national squad.

There are few more candidates like Australian national squad head coach Brian Goorjian and former Gilas tactician Tab Baldwin.

But whoever is going to call the shots will definitely face a tough task as he has to lead the Filipinos in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament from 2 to 7 July and in the window tournaments for the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Now, here’s the big question: Is the team going to be represented by young players outside the PBA and Japan B. League or will the SBP continue with its band aid solution of picking the best players available?

The basketball landscape had changed drastically.

Unlike before when you would only prepare for a tournament in a four-year cycle, as in the case of the PBA whose main goal previously was to represent the country in  the Asian Games, the International Basketball Federation presents a demanding schedule of having teams play non-stop to the point of running conflict with domestic leagues around the world. There are window tournaments to be played that stretch to a two-year cycle.

The grueling phase had taken a toll on PBA players, who are no longer spring chickens but are still hard-pressed to represent the country in the international arena.

If you go for young players whom you can train and develop, it’s going to be tough as the most you can keep a hold of them as a unit is around three to five years.

We’ve already seen this model with the old Northern Consolidated Cement program. It had the cream of the crop in the amateur ranks like Allan Caidic, Hector Calma and the late Samboy Lim.

The SBP duplicated the program when it formed Smart Gilas composed of amateur stars like Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Chris Tiu, Marcio Lassier and JVee Casio in a bid not to disrupt the program of the PBA.

But these players have professional aspirations as well. They soon bolted out of the program and eventually joined the professional ranks, leaving the federation with no choice but to seek reinforcements from the PBA and the Japan B. League.

The SBP will have to carefully weigh what’s the ideal setup in forming the national team without disrupting the programs of its stakeholders, who also have a business to run and fans to entertain.

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