SLR Eyes Stint in Asia Champs Cup

On: 10 March 2008

By Nelson Beltran
The Philippine Star, 10 March 2008

Sta. Lucia governor and team manager Buddy Encarnado said he would love to send his team to the coming FIBA-Asia Champions Cup but the decision is in the hands of the PBA board of governors.

"It would be a big honor for us to represent the country in an international tournament, but it's really up to the PBA board," said Encarnado on Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' invitation for the Realtors to play in the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup.

When told that the tourney's schedule would interfere with the PBA second conference schedule, Encarnado said: "It's really a problem."

The FIBA-Asia Champions Cup is set in Dubai in May when the PBA Fiesta Cup is in the middle stage of the elimination round. Sta. Lucia has a chance to score a double championship in the season following its conquest of the Philippine Cup.

"Mag-aambisyon kami dyan," Sta. Lucia team owner Excy Robles said.

The SBP has given the pro league a standing invitation to play in the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup and in the Jones Cup this year. PBA officials doubt whether the league board would accept the invitation.

If the pro league refuses to lend its players, SBP may have to tap PBL four-peat champion Harbour Centre for the job.

The Batang Pier are playing in the SEABA Champions Cup set April 4-6 in Jakarta.

The Philippines plays Thailand on April 4, Indonesia on the fifth then Malaysia on the sixth. It's a single-round-robin tourney after which the best team is automatically declared champion.

Harbour Centre, with Julius Nwosu and Vidal Messiah as imports, walloped Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam in last year's SEABA joust. The SMC-Philippine team of coach Chot Reyes took over in the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup, finishing fourth in Tehran, Iran.

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