The players are deeply committed and ready.
Amid the Gilas Pilipinas lineup brouhaha ahead of the Asian Games, the top basketball brass are calling on fans to support the team whoever is in it.
“We’re just working on what we have now. We’re already here, we’re trying our best to form a team that will compete,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio in a press conference on Tuesday.
Panlilio said this as the team is scrambling to form the best possible team following the news that players like Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Terrence Romeo, and Mo Tautuaa are likely out of the regional meet.
Turned out, they were not part of the original lineup submitted to the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC). In fact, there were two lists submitted to organizers: the 60- and the 37-man pools.
That said, Gilas is now bringing in Chris Ross, Kevin Alas, Arvin Tolentino, Cjay Perez, and Marcio Lassiter into the buildup. They are part of the 37.
While this is already Plan B, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas reiterated they’re ready for it.
“Let’s put it in perspective. We had a Plan A, and that was Tautuaa and the 4 that were mentioned. Plan B has just started today,” he said. “This team has decided to go to the Asian Games and put two plans in place. And we’re ready to be able to field that team whether it’s Plan A or Plan B.”
Vargas added the seven players are more than willing to play in the event they are the only players eligible to make up the squad.
“Even if they were only seven, they would still want to play. How can you say no to that?” he said, adding this team is special. “All they’re asking is recognize the deepness of their commitment and greet them with good wishes as they leave for the Asian games.”
Panlilio echoed his sentiment.
“Just support them. Whoever makes it to the 16. Let’s just support the 16 players who are practicing,” he said.