By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star | 11/14/2012 12:26 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Coach Chot Reyes is hoping to get all the necessary support needed by the national team for the 2013 Asian championship, saying this may be the country's best shot to make the World Championship with FIBA introducing a new qualifying format for the next global meet.
"We don't know the complete details yet. But they're putting together in one group Asia and Oceania teams. If they're not adding extra World Cup slot for the region, teams like US, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Korea compete for one spot," Reyes told The STAR.
"For me, 2014 is really our best shot to make the world championship. Hopefully, we get all the help and cooperation that we need," Reyes added.
Smart Gilas Pilipinas has resumed its once-a-week practice Monday. Present were members of the old group that reigned supreme in the last Jones Cup plus players from the cadet pool.
Reyes is actually after some new players to strengthen particular spots in the roster.
"I have a new list of 20 (PBA) players. It's now with the PBA Commissioner's Office for their dispensation," said Reyes.
"We're awaiting their word but as of last night (Monday), only the original pool attended the practice aside from cadet players," Reyes added.
The Nationals are preparing for two international invitational tourneys in Dubai and in Hong Kong early next year with both serving as part of the team’s buildup for the 2013 Asian World Cup qualifier.
The top three in the 2013 Asian meet advance to the 24-team World Cup in Spain in 2014. Then a new format and calendar for the World Cup will be introduced.
The World Cup of Basketball will skip 2018 and be played instead in 2019, serving as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.
The FIBA, on Sunday, also announced the expansion of participating teams from 24 to 32.
"It's not clear how they would assign the spots per region. Looks like they want more European teams because there are many tough Euro teams missing the worlds," said Reyes.
"If they don't add spots in Asia and Oceania, it would be tougher for us to qualify since we don't just contend with China now but also with Australia and New Zealand," Reyes pointed out.
In the amended format, qualification for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held over two year courses, consisting of six windows in November 2017, February, June, September and November 2018 and February 2019.