The Gilas Pilipinas is still open to having players from the Philippine Basketball Association join them provided they could make the time commitment.
Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin made this assertion as uncertainty surrounds the team after its stint in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup this August. With Kai Sotto heading to Australia to play in the National Basketball League and Carl Tamayo, RJ Abarrientos and Justine Baltazar returning to their school teams to prepare for the UAAP, the Gilas roster could have lots of holes moving forward.
Could PBA players rejoin the squad? Baldwin said that still is a possibility but they have to put in the time to train with the Gilas team.
“I think everyone has to realize that this is not a team, this is just a pool of players. So we select a roster when we have games facing us and confronting us. Other than that, we are a pool of players that are available for as long as they can make a time commitment that allows this coaching staff to build chemistry,” Baldwin relayed during his appearance on the show entitled “The Chasedown.”
“If they can’t make the time commitment, it undermines the strength of this program which is chemistry of the team. I think everything hinges on that. It hinges on the player availability to not just show up, but to give meaningful time contribution to be part of the roster,” the American-New Zealander added.
With this current iteration of the Gilas training inside a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna for most of the year, they were able to put forth an incredible performance in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, winning all of their games including a couple over vaunted rivals, South Korea.
The issue with PBA players, though, is their upcoming season might prevent them from training full time with the Gilas. However, Baldwin said they are willing to work on a compromise for that as they need all the talent they can possibly get for the FIBA World Cup in 2023.
“That’s something that we have to work on at that time. So we don’t really try to open or close the door at this point in time. There’s no point in doing that. We are a national team and we need all the talent to assemble that,” said Baldwin. (JNP)