It's a go again.
After the controversial announcement by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) last week to pull out of the basketball competition in the upcoming 18th Asian Games in Indonesia, the national basketball federation decided to send the core of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters plus several other PBA players and two Gilas Cadets to Jakarta after all.
"The SBP is happy to announce that we will compete in the Asian Games," SBP president Al Panlilio said in a press conference on Sunday.
Six Rain or Shine players, namely Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, James Yap, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi, along with Blackwater Elite's John Paul Erram, Magnolia Hotshots' Paul Lee, San Miguel's Christian Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, TNT's Don Trollano and NLEX's Asi Taulava and Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras will be representing the Philippines in the Asiad.
The 14-man lineup, however, will be trimmed down to 12 before the squad flies to Indonesia, according to national team coach Yeng Guiao who is still going to mentor the squad that hopes to redeem national pride after a lowly seventh place finish in the 2014 Inchon, Korea edition -- the Philippines' worst placing ever.
This development comes days after Philippines' Asian games Chef de Mission Richard Gomez expressed hope that the SBP would still reconsider, but SBP president Al Panlilio later telling ESPN5 that the national federation had already notified the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) of the formal withdrawal of the Philippines in a sport it had only missed once since the inception of the games in 1951.
During the 2006 Qatar Asiad, the Philippines was suspended by FIBA as the national federation-then the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP)-had internal squabbles and was not allowed to join any international tournament. Only when the SBP was formalized in 2007 did the world governing body for basketball lift its sanctions on the country.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said POC secretary-general Patrick "Pato" Gregorio is still in talks with the INASGOC of getting Pringle, Lee and Taulava accredited for the Asiad.
ESPN's JC Ansis contributed to this report.