June 24, 2024

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PBA shifts schedule for Gilas Pilipinas, moves PH Cup opener to Feb. 28

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NEW OPENING DATE. PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial bares that the opening of the Philippine Cup has been moved to February 28, instead of March 3, to give way to Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the upcoming Olympic Qualifying Tournament. PBA PHOTO

In an unprecedented move aimed at prioritizing the national team’s campaign in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), the PBA has decided to make a significant adjustment to its 48th-season schedule. The opening of the Philippine Cup, originally slated for March 3, will now take place on Feb. 28.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial revealed that the decision was made to afford Gilas Pilipinas, under the guidance of head coach Tim Cone, additional time to prepare for the FIBA OQT set to be held in Riga, Latvia, from July 2-7.
“Nag-adjust kami para sa Gilas. Dapat sa March 3 ang opening (Philippine Cup), pero tatamaan kasi yung OQT, kaya Feb 28 na ang opening (We adjusted for Gilas. The opening of the Philippine Cup was supposed to be on March 3, but it would coincide with the OQT, so we moved it to Feb. 28,” explained Marcial.
The commissioner added that the PBA is actively coordinating with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to align the league’s schedule with international tournaments where Gilas is scheduled to compete this year.
The urgency to accommodate Gilas’ preparations is further emphasized by the looming FIBA Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers.
Gilas is set to compete on Feb. 22 in Hong Kong and on Feb. 25 against Chinese Taipei in Manila.
To expedite the Commissioner’s Cup finals between Magnolia and San Miguel, the league opted to proceed without the usual gap between the semifinals and the championship series.
“Etong finals nga dapat may gap ito ng isang araw. Dapat Linggo pa (Originally, there should be a one-day gap for these finals. It was supposed to be on Sunday),” Marcial noted. “Pero ito ay dahil sa Gilas, para mapakawalan na natin sa national team yung mga players na kailangan (But this adjustment is made for Gilas, to release the players needed for the national team).”
The impact of this scheduling adjustment is particularly evident with the Commissioner’s Cup finals between Magnolia and San Miguel.
Despite the semifinals between the Hotshots and Phoenix Fuel Masters concluding just last Wednesday, Game 1 of the title series is set to tip off on Friday, February 2.
The commissioner emphasized that the alteration is essential to facilitate the release of players required for Gilas’ duties.
Notably, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez have been included in Tim Cone’s Gilas 12 for the Asia Cup qualifiers.
As the league adapts its schedule to accommodate national team commitments, the PBA is embracing the challenge of balancing both domestic and international basketball priorities.
The Philippine Cup’s rescheduled opening on Feb. 28 symbolizes the league’s commitment to supporting Gilas Pilipinas on its quest for international success.

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