CHANGES in the composition of the national men’s 5×5 team to the 19th Asian Games remained possible—that is if the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) would heed amendments on the Philippine delegation’s composition that were submitted two months ago.
But it won’t only be on the basketball team roster that the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is looking at.
“We are pushing hard for the changes in the rosters of some of our national teams to guarantee that they strong finish in the games,” POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Wednesday.
The POC has advised the HAGOC of changes in the national team rosters of some NSAs during the pre-delegation registration meeting (DRM) conducted online on Wednesday afternoon.
The Philippine delegation is composed of 395 athletes who will see action in 40 sports in Hangzhou. The list was already submitted to the HAGOC ahead of the deadline for the Entry by Names last July 25.
Tolentino said that the final DRM in Hangzhou on September 17 would determine if the changes have been approved.
“The POC has already advised the HAGOC of the possible changes in the composition of the Philippine delegation and let’s hope that these changes would be approved,” Tolentino said. “But we are insisting hard.”
The DRM is a crucial meeting between a national Olympic committee and the games organizer—Olympics, Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, among others—covering not only the members of the delegation but major concerns including travel, accommodation, local transport and logistical arrangements.
The POC made the initiative to advise the HAGOC of the changes in national team rosters ahead of the announcement on the composition of Gilas Pilipinas for Hangzhou that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will jointly make on Thursday.
The SBP couldn’t field the same players who competed in the FIBA World Cup—Jordan Clarkson has to return to the US for Utah Jazz’s training camp with Dwight Ramos, Renz Abando and even Kiefer Ravena returning to their pro duties with their ball clubs in Japan and Korea.
The SBP has already submitted a 12-man lineup for Hangzhou in compliance with the Entry by Names deadline set by the HAGOC on the POC last July 15.
The list had World Cup veterans Ravena, Scottie Thompson, Roger Pogoy, June Mar Fajardo, JR Perez, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo, as well as pre-FIBA World Cup pool members Chris Newsome, Calvon Oftana, Brandon Rosser and naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame
Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, the most consistent local in the World Cup, were not on the list.
The coaching lineup for Hangzhou also had Chot Reyes and Tim Cone—but Reyes reiterated in reply to a BusinessMirror chat message that his decision to step aside remains.
“Nope, not me,” said Reyes in a reply to a question if he has reconsidered.
Top officials of the SBP and PBA also met anew on Tuesday—after announcing a high-level meeting took place Monday—to tackle the lineup for Hangzhou.
SBP president Al Panlilio, Philippine Basketball Association chairman and Ricky Vargas, also SBP vice president, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and vice chairman Bobby Rosales and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel governor and San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua met in a Makati hotel on Monday to tackle the Gilas roster.
They were joined on Tuesday by Reyes and Cone.
Oftana, meanwhile, emphasized that Reyes is still the right man for the job in the Asian Games.
“Six of the players in the Asian Games lineup played in the World Cup and they already know the system of coach Chot, even naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame who were with us in the pool,” Oftana told BusinessMirror on Wednesday. “This team has a great chance of competing.”
“A new coach means a new system and that’s going to be difficult to form a competitive team with great chemistry,” he added.
The Asian Games opening ceremony is on September 23 with the Philippines facing Bahrain in its first group stage assignment in the 5×5 competition that starts September 26.