MANILA, Philippines – Manny V. Pangilinan has a clear mission when he attends the FIBA Central Board meeting slated for January 2017: to persuade the board to loosen up eligibility rules for Fil-foreigners who want to play for the national team.
The long-time Gilas patron shared his goal for the meeting during the team's launch of its new partnership with Chooks To Go on Monday, December 5 at Makati ShangriLa.
"Part of my mission, which was given to be Sonny Barrios, is to persuade the FIBA Central Board to relax their requirements for citizenship or eligibility of Fil-foreigners into the national team," he said. "If we could get that, we may get the likes of Jordan Clarkson to join the team."
Gilas has long been trying to clear the Los Angeles Lakers guard since before the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers but wasn't able to make it. One of the commonly known requirements for eligibility is having a Philippine passport by the age of 16.
"We just have to lobby the Central Board to get them to relax those requirements," said Pangilinan, a member of the board.
The national team has yet to complete its pool but it currently already has the former cadets on board, ready to be pulled out from their PBA teams before any tournament.
Pangilinan, the former Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president, said the first tournament for this Gilas batch is the SEABA Championship by March 2017, formally beginning the journey to qualifying for the 2020 basketball Olympics. – Rappler.com