Gilas Pilipinas shifts its focus to a much tougher challenge in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers with the major leagues getting to the thick of their respective seasons come November.

Photo from FIBA

Gilas will only be playing Jordan and Saudi Arabia but the same old problem looms ahead for head coach Chot Reyes as he will miss some key players from the Japan B.League, UAAP, NCAA, NBA and PBA.

Reyes said discussions have already started between Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the leagues about the possibility of lending their players to the national team during that window.

Although nothing is cast in stone yet, according to Reyes the UAAP and NCAA expressed willingness to take a two-week break if necessary to give way for the national team.

“We’ve already talked about it with the PBA, they’re going to make players available, the same thing with the UAAP and the NCAA in the last SBP general meeting last month,” said Reyes when asked about his plans for the next window after Gilas wrapped up the fourth window with an 84-46 drubbing of Saudi Arabia last Monday, Aug. 29

“They already said the UAAP, the NCAA are willing, if necessary, to call a two-week break to their schedule to allow players that we may select to come and play in the November window,” added Reyes.

“Nothing is set in stone yet but the discussions have already started,” he clarified.

Meanwhile, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed to Manila Bulletin that there were such talks between him and Reyes although he has yet to formally present it to the PBA board.

“Wala pa, ibibring up ko pa sa board yan sa susunod na board meeting. Pero one thing for sure hindi tayo titigil,” said Marcial who also explained that the league will be on the latter part of its eliminations schedule in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup by the time of the November window.

Back in the February window, Gilas was able to field the core players of TNT to join a couple of collegiate standouts the likes of Juan Gomez De Llano, Will Navarro, Tzady Rangel and Jaydee Tungcab.

Source: Manila Bulletin (