Gilas shows positive signs amid PBA crisis as training camp starts
THE current crisis in the PBA Commissioner’s Office notwithstanding, Gilas Pilipinas’ first practice on Friday showed encouraging signs and almost assured that the Filipinos will be in full force for their first round clash with Japan in the hectic Fiba Asia World Qualifiers.
Save for the injured Jio Jalalon and Terrence Romeo and Kiefer Ravena who are still both out of town, and naturalized center Andray Blatche who promised to arrive on Nov. 12, the other National pool members belonging to the warring factions showed up for work.
Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer and Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra together with TNT KaTropa guards Jason Castro and RR Pogoy, belonging to the two sides that are at odds as far as the services of commissioner Chito Narvasa is concerned.
Jalalon, who made it to the All-Defensive Team in his rookie year last season, has lateral collateral ligament damage.
Team Philippines will play Japan in Tokyo on Nov. 24 and the Filipinos, with Blatche on board, should be the favored side.
Gilas will then travel a few days after to Chinese Taipei to play the Taiwanese and Quincy Davis. The Filipinos are also slated to clash with world power Australia in the home-and-away series of games.
This will mark Blatche’s return to active Philippine duty after sitting out the Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon a couple of months back for security reasons.
That paved the way for Christian Standhardinger to play a third international tournament for Gilas after seeing action in the Jones Cup, where the Filipinos finished fourth, and in the Southeast Asian Games which Team Philippines easily won.
Standhardinger was picked first overall in the last Draft but is not included in the pool with Blatche filling in the naturalized player’s slot.
The impasse with regards to Narvasa’s tenure in office has yet to be resolved with the members of the league’s board set to fly to Los Angeles in the United States on Nov. 10 to plan the PBA’s activities for the coming season.
A five-team bloc led by San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra, Star, GlobalPort and KIA has stuck it out with Narvasa, while a group made up of seven teams counting TNT, Meralco, NLEX, Alaska, Rain or Shine, Phoenix Petroleum and Blackwater has decided not to give him a fresh term.
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