Gilas off to HK after Dubai joust
MANILA, Philippines - Coach Chot Reyes and the members of the Gilas Pilipinas cadet pool fly home today from Dubai just to repack their bags and leave for Hong Kong tomorrow for another international invitational tournament there starting Tuesday.
Marcus Douthit, Garvo Lanete, Greg Slaughter, RR Garcia, Kevin Alas, Ronald Pascual, Jake Pascual, Matt Ganuelas, Justin Melton and Isaac Holstein will be home briefly while pro players KG Canaleta, Ronjay Buenafe and JayR Reyes are already rejoining their mother teams.
"Since it's just a training tourney, we decided to make the most of it to train our young players," Gilas operations chief Butch Antonio told The STAR.
Gary David is the only PBA player included in the Gilas lineup but it’s still uncertain whether the Globalport star pushes through with his planned tour of duty with the team.
"If I'm needed there, I'm willing to go. I have been given permission by my ball club," said David, among the biggest heroes in Gilas' conquest of the Jones Cup in Taipei last year.
The Hong Kong event is much lighter than the Dubai tourney where Smart Gilas struggled for a 1-3 win-loss showing.
In Hong Kong, the Filipinos will be up against national teams of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong plus a local club team and a club squad from mainland China.
The Filipinos start their campaign in Hong Kong with a game versus Malaysia Tuesday.
As part of their bonus for winning the PBA Philippine Cup, the Talk n Text Tropang Texters are also set to fly to Hong Kong. They may be present on the sidelines in some of Gilas' games.
The other PBA ball clubs are also not committed to loan players to Gilas in its HK journey.
"It's not included in the program presented by Smart Gilas to the PBA. The league's commitment is to help form the best team possible for the FIBA Asia Championship," said PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial.
The PBA board convenes in a meeting Thursday to firm up its commitment to the national squad.
Up for approval is the possible revision of the PBA Governors Cup format and schedule to give pro players opportune time to train for the Asian joust set Aug. 1-11.