PBA Board to take up sked

PBA Board to take up sked

MANILA, Philippines — The PBA Board of Governors convenes today to discuss the opening of the 48th season with commissioner Willie Marcial reporting on his meeting with Gilas head coach Chot Reyes regarding the use of pro players for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8. It’s a key item on the agenda as Marcial will lay out the options with Gilas unable to draft collegiate players due to a conflict of schedules.

If Reyes won’t use PBA players, the league could start in September after the FIBA World Cup which ends Sept. 10. In this case, the PBA will hold its annual draft in August for a one-month interval before the start of the season. If Reyes will use PBA players, the league is likely to push back its opening to October with the draft in September.

The concern is collegiate players will take a long break before entering the draft and it could lead to standouts seeking contracts overseas. Marcial said the PBA won’t get in the way of players looking for greener pastures abroad. “Kung ikaka-buti ng pamilya nila, bakit hindi?” said Marcial. “Hindi namin pipigilan.” However, he explained that under PBA rules, an existing PBA player with an expired contract has two years within which to return to the league and if he doesn’t, will sit out three additional years. With a collegiate player eligible for the draft, he is given three years within which to apply and if he doesn’t, will sit out two more years. Marcial said in his personal view, the sit-out clauses may be revisited to allow players returning from overseas an open door to join or rejoin the PBA.

In the previous Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018, Jordan Clarkson suited up for the Philippines and led the national team to fifth place. Eligibility rules for the Asian Games are different from FIBA. In the Asian Games, only a passport is required for eligibility, regardless of when it was issued. Justin Brownlee is expected to play as Gilas’ naturalized player in Hangzhou.

Reyes said it’s still not certain what will be the eligibility rules for the SEA Games in May and Asian Games. But what’s sure is Brownlee will be Gilas’ naturalized player in both competitions. That means little rest for Brownlee as he’s playing in his second straight PBA conference after which he’ll play in the SEA Games, join Gilas in its three-month training for the World Cup then see action in the Asian Games. Brownlee will take a rest when the PBA opens its 48th season with the Philippine Cup.

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