Given the grueling schedule of the 2019 William Jones Cup this July, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is now exploring other options for Gilas Pilipinas as the national squad prepares for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China scheduled to start on August 31.
"We spent almost an hour just talking about the schedule. Now the Jones Cup is quite challenging because that's from July 12-21, so that's 9 days, that's too long," SBP president Al Panlilio said after emerging from the monthly PBA board meeting on Friday at the league's office in Libis, Quezon City.
Panlilio admitted he hasn't consulted Gilas coach Yeng Guiao yet as far as Gilas' preparation for the World Cup is concerned. But one possibility is holding a mini-tournament or a series of friendly games with other national teams in Manila.
Panlilio cited Lebanon and Jordan's side trip to Manila last year just before heading to their respective games in the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
"As you know, on the way to Australia, both Lebanon and Jordan came over to play two games each with the Philippine team. That may be a better option for us, but of course, we don't know yet which teams (to invite)," he added.
But this early, the SBP chief mentioned that the Philippines' long-time Asian nemesis South Korea could be included in the list that Gilas will face in a friendly game.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said the Jones Cup can also be disruptive to the pro league's 2019 season calendar.
"The calendar of the PBA will really be stretched till next year so as we do that, we will have to align with the SBP," Vargas said, citing the PBA's active role as well with the Southeast Asian Games, which the Philippine is set to host from November 30 to December 11.
"It's a happy problem for the PBA because we just want to show how committed the PBA is to Gilas," he said. "The Jones Cup may not really be effective, but of course, the coach will act on that, but it (Jones Cup) can be very disruptive (to the PBA's schedule)."