Alaska team manager Joaqui Trillo has asked the PBA Board of Governors to invite SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national coach Chot Reyes to a meeting to discuss the structure of the program.
“He needs to shed light regarding the national squad,” Trillo told InterAKTV in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Ano ba talaga ang papel ng mga amateur players, sino ba yung mga pwedeng magpa-draft, or if amateur players join the national squad, can they still join the PBA rookie draft?”
PBA chairman Mamerto Mondragon, who represents the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on the board, said he already received Trillo’s request and is amenable to it. The board is set to meet next week.
Trillo’s request for a discussion with Reyes comes on the heels of comments made by his son Luigi, the coach of the Aces, regarding the move of SMART-Gilas to sign top amateur prospects to the national pool, which would supposedly bar them from entering the draft.
The younger Trillo was alluding to a report by InterAKTV saying that Filipino-American prospects Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis will skip the draft for a tour of duty with SMART-Gilas.
“We are lending our best pro players. The draft is our only chance to strengthen our line up. Why deprive teams who are willing to lend?” said Trillo.
But Reyes said that the commitment of the Fil-Am duo currently extends only until July, when they are supposed to play for the SMART-Gilas select team that would compete in a Southeast Asian Basketball Association qualifying tournament for the FIBA Asia Cup, formerly known as the Stankovic Cup.
A separate pool of cadet players will also be formed, but Reyes said neither Hodge or Ellis have been selected yet to be part of that pool. (See: A look inside the structure of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas program)
Rain or Shine owner Raymond Yu expressed apprehension about the possibility of top amateur prospects signing with SMART-Gilas instead of joining the draft.
“For teams just like us, it will affect our efforts to stay competitive in the years to come,” wrote Yu in a text message.
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