Photo from FIBA

PBA teams will have to wait for a formal word from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas before it can sign players they selected in the Gilas Pilipinas round of the 2019 draft.

Five players from that year’s special round are set to see their Gilas contracts expire in a few weeks, but PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said teams can’t make offers until the SBP grants their official release.

“Kailangan lang merong communication sa amin ang SBP na pwede tong player na to maglaro sa PBA, kasi baka inassume lang namin na pwede, yun pala kailangan pa nila. Yun ang mahirap,” Marcial said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

“Pero oras na sinabi sa amin ng SBP na pwede yang player na yan, welcome yan. Ilalaro namin at ibibigay agad namin sa team,” added Marcial.

The SBP will likely aim to keep at least some of the players, given its busy 2022 schedule coupled with the absence of Gilas mainstays who are currently attached with their clubs overseas.

The Philippines is slated to host the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers window while also slated later in the year are the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam and the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Selected first in that year’s special draft was former Ateneo center Isaac Go, who was taken by Columbian (now-Terrafirma).

Ex-University of the Visayas and University of the East standout Rey Suerte was taken second by Blackwater, point guard Matt Nieto was chosen third by NLEX, followed by Allyn Bulanadi by Alaska and Nieto’s twin brother Mike by Rain or Shine.

Go had a key role for Gilas during last year’s stints in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Pampanga and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.

Mike Nieto also played for Gilas in both competitions while Suerte last saw action for the national team in the second window of the Asia Cup Qualifiers in Nov. 2020.

Injuries prevented Matt Nieto and Bulanadi from suiting up in the recent international events.

Source: Manila Bulletin (