It’s too late.
That’s how SMART-Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes reacted about reports that San Miguel Corporation is willing to lend players from its PBA teams to the national program for the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
No less than Ramon Ang, president of SMC, through executive Noli Eala, reportedly said that the conglomerate is willing to allow its players play for the Philippine team. “They need to send a letter of request,” Eala told InterAKTV.
But Reyes said it would be too late to tap players from SMC for the national team’s campaign in Japan, which begins in two weeks. He previously named six SMC players to the national pool, but only Enrico Villanueva of Ginebra committed to the program. James Yap and Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee and Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, and Marcio Lassiter failed to submit letters of commitment that would have formalized their entry into the SMART-Gilas fold.
Reyes earlier lobbied to include Pingris, citing the need for SMART-Gilas to beef up its frontline. But after a conversation with the coach, ‘Sakuragi’ begged off as he continues to recover from a neck injury he suffered during the finals of last season’s Governors’ Cup.
Still, SMC’s willingness to lend its players comes as good news for the national team. It would clear the way for the problem-free stint of point guard LA Tenorio, the Most Valuable Player of the 34th William Jones Cup, for SMART-Gilas once his reported trade to Ginebra pushes through.
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