Gilas team has a looming 2022 loaded schedule and already secured a spot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, but Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said that the Gilas is facing the challenge of consolidating their core together.

/ 5 September 2021

In an interview over Radyo5’s Power & Play with Noli Eala, Panlilio said that even though there will be discussions to form a competitive team, it is still a struggle to do so.

“We still have to discuss this but it’s gonna be a struggle for us to keep the team together. That’s the challenge,” Panlilio said.

“We will work closely with Tab [Baldwin] and we’re working for a full-year program or beyond this on how we can calendar all of this. Napakaraming kailangan gawin in keeping the team together. Yan ang pinakaproblema natin.”

Panlilio said that Gilas men have many propitious members making it intricate to form the core of the team in the first window of the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers this November.

As of now, Gilas program has former PBA draft members Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Matt and Mike Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi, Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, and Tzaddy Rangel.

Other players were borrowed from collegiate ranks such as Dwight Ramos, Justine Baltazar, and naturalized center Ange Kouame; and recently club teams release Kai Sotto, Thirdy Ravena, and brothers Juan and Javi Gomez made it intricate to form the team.

“I think that’s been discussed and we’re very open with that. That’s when even when I talked to [PBA commissioner] Willie Marcial, we continue to explore what we could do. Si [SBP special assistant to the president] Ryan Gregorio also helps me out in terms of talking to the collegiate ranks. I’d like to sit down with them if that’s necessary,” he said.

Panlilio also said that on top of a busy 2022 schedule due to upcoming tournaments, the main objective is for them to ‘complete the team’ with players accrued to face the best of the best contenders to the World Cup.

“What we’re trying to do is to develop as many players as we can. In two years’ time, maraming mangyayari, maraming player movements, player discussions. Maraming mangyayari sa careers ng mga player and in a way parang ano nga kami, beggars cannot be choosers, di ba? But it’s a commitment coming from the players. If they really want to play for the national team, then we will work with them.”

“It starts with their commitment to play for the flag at the end of the day. Kung talagang malakas ang intentions nila maglaro, hahanapan nila ng solusyon. Kung medyo di sila committed, excuses” he added.