The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) recently broke its silence following Gilas Pilipinas’ awful ninth-place finish in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup.
Among the things brought up by president Al Panlilio that caused the failed attempt to make the quarterfinals were (1) lack of training time and player availability, and (2) the PBA constantly adjusting its calendar to accommodate FIBA tournaments and events.
Just to be clear, these issues are not going away anytime soon. In fact, they are there to stay if current conditions remain the same.
It should not be the PBA schedule nor the players to adjust, it is the stakeholders and the government, as the national sports body regulator, who should.
My take has been to make Gilas a permanent PBA team. I find the PBA a perfect vehicle to make the national team potentially reach levels it never touched if both parties could find a common ground to make it work.
Here’s my “wild idea” to make the national team as a regular PBA team.
All PBA teams should find a way to sponsor the national team as a regular PBA member and gave the team the same rights given to a regular team, except probably in drafting players.
Whatever role the government will have in this set up, which is supposed to be a lead role, is to be ironed out in forming the team.
For instance, these companies and the government could pool whatever available resources to a common fund and use it to spend the salaries of national team players and the coaching and management of the team under the SBP umbrella.
In return for the resources spent, they should find a common agreement on how each team brand can recover their investment in the national team based to how much they contributed under allowable rules. This will balance out the sponsoring companies endeavor in investing in the team.
To assemble the team, a dispersal draft will be conducted. The new team management body can select any player from all the PBA teams and assume the contracts of some 15 players. This is the initial team.
This should, more or less, guarantee that the best of the best and the players who will fit its system will be part of the national team.
To level the PBA playing field, which would enhance the competition and skill levels in the league, imports will be allowed.
The idea of getting Asian imports can be applied to the All-Filipino Conference and allowing two world imports for the Commissioner’s and the Governor’s Cups for the other teams will be increased to two.
Subsequently, the national team can trade players with the other commercially sponsored teams, negotiate contract extensions with its current players and draft incoming collegiate players.
With respect to drafting of players, the national team should have first crack at all draftees to fill-up their 15-man line-up with the best players available.
So, for every player they will draft, another would have to be released. The player that would be released is then included in the regular draft and be drafted like a rookie.
After the national team has finished drafting, the rest of the teams will draft using the current drafting rules, the only difference is the presence of the discarded national players in addition to the rookies made available for the other teams.
The teams drafting the released players will have to assume their contracts signed with the national team.
In this manner, the national team gets more training as a team, have a chance to fight for a PBA crown, and still get sky-high salaries while representing our country.
On the other hand, the PBA, as a whole, does not loss any of their valuable returns as their calendar of activities will still continue without disrupting the composition of the individually sponsored teams.
It would be easier for the national team to go on a leave of absence to attend international competitions than adjusting the PBA calendar to accommodate the national team.
I just don’t know how far this crazy idea can be feasible given the complexity of the professional game along with government rules that may limit the execution of this set-up.
This, however, is a “not too outrageous playful” idea.
If government rules can allow this set-up, the only remaining thing to do is the hiring the best marketing team to enable the sponsoring companies to recover their investment.
By: Armando M. Bolislis