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Gilas Cadets could make up core of PH lineup for FIBA AC

MANILA -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is likely to bring in the new Gilas Cadets to beef up the Gilas Men lineup for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

SBP president Al Panlilio sees this as an opportunity to begin their buildup for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the Philippines will co-host with Indonesia and Japan.

"We actually wanted to start the program na (already)," Panlilio said on Saturday about the Gilas Cadets.

Last month, the SBP named Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, and Matt and Mike Nieto to the Gilas Cadets, while just as the new year began, Thirdy Ravena and Jaydee Tungcab were added to the pool.

Should the plan push through, the said players will be joined by veterans from the Philippine Basketball Association, which has been lending its players to Gilas Men since the program was established last decade.

However, Panlilio also sees the "hybrid" setup of the Gilas Men roster as an opportunity for the league to recalibrate its season schedule after the past two seasons saw the league setting a week or two off to make way for either the FIBA World Cup or the Southeast Asian Games.

"This is our way of building up the PBA and at the same time, Gilas," the concurrent representative of Meralco to the PBA board said.

He said: "From a Meralco governor position in the PBA board, nakita ko yung disruption na nangyari sa PBA (I saw the disruption that happened in the PBA)--the sacrifice the PBA has to do to adjust to the World Cup and the SEA Games schedules. Ngayon lang kayo nakakita ng (This is the first time that I saw in the) third conference finals na (in) January the other year. Nai-impact din talaga ang PBA (There is indeed an impact on the PBA)."

The ongoing 44th season, which started on Jan. 13 last year, could only end as soon as Jan. 15 assuming either the Bolts or Barangay Ginebra sweep the best-of-seven finals, meaning the season, including all the breaks due to the Gilas Men competitions, will run for 368 calendar days or even more depending on how the series, which will start on Tuesday, will go. (PNA)

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