Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is coordinating with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to plunge Gilas Pilipinas on more participation in the league and other tournament tilts to strengthen the national team for future events set later this year.

/ 7 March 2021

With the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers to kick off in June and PBA Season in April, SBP sets to restart Gilas training camp by mid-March.

Yung konsepto, maliwanag yun. Nag-usap kami ni Comm. Willie (Marcial) on Gilas being able to play in the PBA, whether it’s going to be in the conference or we will come up with a pocket tournament,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios shared in Radyo5’s Power and Play with Noli Eala on Saturday.

Yun ang pinag-aaralan at kung ano yung recommendation namin, yun ang isusulong sa kanya kanyang organisasyon, ako sa SBP at siya naman sa PBA Board,” he continued.

Gilas was tapped by the PBA last February to join as the Board of Governors welcomed the idea in a board meeting that aims to aid in the Nationals’ build-up for its international events later this year.

The pool currently has 2019 Gilas draftees Isaac Go, Nieto twins Matt and Mike, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte under a contract alongside William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, Jordan Heading, and Tzaddy Rangel to be added through the special Gilas round in the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft to take flight on March 14.

Cadets such as Justine Baltazar, Dwight Ramos, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Dave Ildefonso, and Kemark Carino, as well as prospective naturalized player Ange Kouame will be allowed to be included as long as they secure a special guest license from GAB.

This is not the first time that the national team will be playing as it established when the Northern Cement team rallied in the PBA 1984 to 1985 and have captured the 1985 Reinforced Conference title, since then the national team has continuously competed in the league as a guest team.

The national team, who participated in the 2002 Governors’ Cup in its preparation for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, were divided in half and listed in Selecta-RP and Hapee-RP. 

Then, Smart Gilas engaged in the 2010 Philippine Cup but had trouble after Wynne Arboleda attacked his fan in the heated battle against the Burger King Whoppers.

Later, the Rajko Toroman-coached Gilas was listed in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup in lieu of Barako Bull which resulted in Gilas finishing second in the eliminations with a 7-2 record, but fell to Ginebra in the best-of-five semis.

The Philippine squad also competed in some special tournaments staged by the PBA.

First is 1998 when the pro league staged the Centennial Cup with a record of 1-7, then in 2003 with the PBA Invitational Cup which garnered a 1-3 win-loss record.

The PoweradeTeam Pilipinas also executed a pair of exhibition games in the 2008-09 season against an Australian team, in All-Star Game numerous times, and the current iteration of the Gilas competing in the midseason from 2013 to 2014 and 2017 to 2018.

Barrios stood out that whatever the composition will result, it is clear that the SBP and the PBA want to involve Gilas into action this season. 

Maliwanag na gusto namin magkaroon ng something in that nature,” he ended.