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Another special Gilas draft a possibility, says SBP president Al Panlilio

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Gilas improves to 3-0 at FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers (5:04)

Gilas Pilipinas capped off its Bahrain bubble stint with another rout of Thailand, pushing its record to 3-0 in Group A of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers. (5:04)

More amateur standouts may be funneled into the Gilas Pilipinas training pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup if last year's special draft ends up being a fixture in future editions of the PBA rookie proceedings.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said Tuesday that the 2019 draft setup may be something the league and the federation could end up continuing moving forward.

"I think that arrangement was discussed even before. That was the agreement. I think every draft now, they will give the SBP a crack at certain players that we want to put in the pool," he said on Tuesday's episode of Sports Page.

Last year, the PBA Board of Governors unanimously passed a resolution that gave Gilas first dibs on five talents -- Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Matt and Mike Nieto and Allyn Bulanadi -- from the 2019 Draft. The rights to these players are retained by their mother teams until they are released by SBP.

If SBP drafts more players in the 2020 season draft, Panlilio said they might have to put a hard cap on the existing number of members in the training pool.

"We can only manage a certain number of players, so as we enter the next draft, if we pick three, four, five players, then most probably we'll have to ask some of the players to go back to the PBA now and play for their mother teams," he said.

"The arrangement, really, was for them to have a mother team, that's why the drafting was done so when the SBP is ready to release them, they would know where to go, which PBA team they would go to. So that would continue."

Of course, it still depends on how the PBA -- whose top officials are set to convene on Thursday, said Panlilio -- chooses to approach the draft.

"We only had one conference this year, so I don't know what commissioner Willie Marcial will be recommending to the board. But I'm looking forward to having that discussion," he said.

Although the priority right now and in the near future is developing young stars for international play, Panlilio emphasized the fact that SBP will still be relying on PBA stars to lead the country when the World Cup comes around in three years.

"I think the best players are still in the PBA. At the same time, in FIBA competitions you do need the experience of playing internationally. It's great that these 14 young men got experience in the last window," Panlilio said, referring to the young Gilas team that beat Thailand twice in the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Bahrain, "but when it comes to tougher competitions down the road, you do need some of the veterans to come in and contribute.

"You still need June Mar Fajardo in the future. You still need Roger Pogoy. You still need Japeth Aguilar. And imagine if you have Kai Sotto there and you have Dwight Ramos. It's just an exciting combination to think of moving forward. And of course, it's something the program was really planning to do -- develop the young men, expose them to competition."