PBA, SBP begin search for next Gilas head coach

Chot Reyes bows his head to lead the team in prayer. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) released a statement Wednesday afternoon that the Gilas Pilipinas program would undergo a reboot. A day after, PBA Commissioner Chito Salud clarified that through the suggestions of the 12 PBA team owners, they have formed a selection committee that would choose the next head coach and the composition of the next edition of Gilas.

“The SBP has approved the creation of a committee tasked to select the head coach of the national team and players from the PBA that would form the national pool,” Salud said through a statement released by PBA Media Bureau Chief Willie Marcial.

The PBA and SBP head the selection of the team that would compete in tournaments such as the FIBA Asia Qualifying, World Cup, and Asian Games as these would involve PBA players.

In the first two editions of Gilas under coaches Rajko Toroman and Reyes, the SBP had complete control in naming the head coach.

The committee will have to convene quickly as the Philippines aims to land a spot in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The only path to do this is by winning the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China this August or finishing second and third and qualifying through the wild card phase.

Brazil, as the host country, and the United States, as winners of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, are already guaranteed of slots to the basketball competitions in the 2016 Olympics.

The top two teams in the FIBA Championship in the Americas and Europe will qualify for the competitions along with the winners of the FIBA Championships in Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

Three berths will also be available through the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Before heading to the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Reyes announced that Gilas is gunning for a spot in the 2016 Olympics. However, he could no longer be a part of this quest.

Members of the current Gilas team could still be included in the next edition except for Jimmy Alapag as the captain has retired from international competitions. The next pool could also include former Smart-Gilas members Greg Slaughter, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, and Mark Barroca.

Salud also clarified that they are not ending the Gilas program but are trying to make it better.

"The SBP is not dissolving or discontinuing the Gilas Program. It is a successful program that has the PBA's full support. The formation by the SBP of a Selection Committee to choose a head coach for the Gilas National Team, to create a pool of players from which the National Team can draw, and to synchronize the PBA calendar and the Gilas National Team training schedule is proof of a stronger collaborative effort on the part of the SBP and the PBA, its team owners and governors, as well as other stakeholders, to fine tune the Gilas basketball program," Salud said in a statement.

"The objective of the Selection Committee is clear: to consolidate the gains of the existing program and to chart a strategic course to improve current performance. This process will adopt a systematic, methodical and inclusive approach to ensure that Philippine basketball becomes more competitive internationally both in the short and long term."