NEW PBA CALENDAR GOOD FOR INTERNATIONAL STINTS

MANILA, NOVEMBER 6, 2003 (STAR) With the next Asian championship set in 2005, PBA commissioner Noli Eala yesterday said the country has enough time to adopt a comprehensive program to ensure a competitive campaign in the regional meet and hopefully a return trip to the World Basketball Championship and the Olympics in the near future.

But the program would hinge on the kind of terms the pro league would get from the national basketball body, assuming the leadership crisis between the Basketball Association of the Philippines and the Basketball Association of the Philippines, Inc. is settled by then.

"But I believe everything will fall into place with the PBA adjusting its calendar and, thus, opening the door for our possible participation not only in the Asian Games but also the ABC championship," said Eala.

The Asian menís championship serves as the qualifying tournament for the World Championship and the Olympics for Asian nations.

The PBA board of governors unanimously approved Tuesday Ealaís proposal to adjust its calendar, moving its break from July to September Ė a bold move that gave the league the flexibility to adopt a program that could make the nation competitive again on international fronts.

"With this adjustment, from October to June, our players can now concentrate on their job in the PBA. Pagdating ng break sa July to September, doon na natin gagawin ang mga outreach programs. Yung mga mata-tap sa national team, thatís their time para pumunta sa national team," said Eala.

But if ever the PBA is tasked to form and prepare the team for the ABC, Eala said it would not be an all-pro team. "Marami rin naman magagaling na collegiate players. Magsasama tayo for continuous development of players," the youthful PBA commissioner said.

Eala also believed the PBA decision to synchronize its schedule with the FIBA calendar would also serve the interest of premier cage leagues in the country. ó Nelson Beltran


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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