PBA willing to reinforce SEAG team
By Nelson Beltran
The Philippine Star 04/20/2007
Top PBA officials are open to lending some of their players to reinforce the RP team embarking on a gold-medal quest in the SEA Games in Thailand in December.
"(I’m open to) anything that would help them win," said PBA chair Ricky Vargas although he’s quick to add he would no longer be the league’s top honcho by the time the team is put up by August or September.
Red Bull’s Tony Chua is to succeed Vargas as PBA board chair next season. He said he’s also willing to help out the otherwise all-amateur team in the face of real threat posed by the Malaysians, the Indonesians and the host Thais.
Getting a glimpse of what the oppositions would be in the recent SEABA Champions Cup, basketball godfather Mikee Romero said he intends to request the PBA four big men to beef up the RP squad for the SEA Games. The PBA All-Filipino campaign, however, is ongoing by then.
"I’m open to anything that would help our national team win in international competitions. But lending our players (to Harbour Centre-Team Philippines) is subject to the approval of the PBA board," said Vargas.
Chua said it will be up to the PBA governors to come up with the final decision, but added he is personally inclined to support Vargas’ position.
"In our two-year absence in international competitions, our ASEAN neighbors had become strong and confident. They could pose danger that’s why I totally agree that we should help out the national team," he said.
Meanwhile, Vargas is meeting with PBA commissioner Noli Eala and San Miguel Corp.’s Robert Non today to discuss the program of the all-pro RP team which has returned from a two-week training in Carson City, California.
Reserve Enrico Villanueva rejoined the team as it reopened camp at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside Ateneo yesterday.
"I’m still hoping to make it to the team for the SEABA championship. It’s tough to attend two practices a day but I’m willing to do it to have a chance at wearing the national colors," said Villanueva.
The all-pro RP team will get to fully size up the Malaysians, the Indons and the Thais in the SEABA men’s championship slated next month in Ratchaburi, Thailand. The tourney is the regional elimination for the FIBA-Asia Olympic qualifying tourney in July in Tokushima, Japan.