Jimmy Alapag and Kelly were loaned to the Smart Gilas Pilipinas for the rest of the year to help the team get to the 2012 London Olympics. Jimmy and Kelly wanted to play for the National Team because it has been their dream to be able to serve the country but they also want to achieve a grand slam title for Talk 'n Text. Will they be able to play for both teams at the same time? The PBA Board of Governors has decided and they were allowed to do whatever they want but there are certain conditions.
As a rule, the PBA treats their players equally and so the special treatment also applies to Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros. They can also play for their respective PBA teams while they are playing for Smart Gilas.
But here's the catch, they should play in all of their PBA teams' games in the regular season otherwise the privilege will be forfeited. That would be physically impossible because Gilas will have to go abroad.
These PBA players will have to make the right choice otherwise their careers will be in limbo because their PBA teams will have to release them and their contracts will be void. If they will choose to play for their Mother teams, they will have to play and give their full time to their teams thus, they will not be able to fully play with Smart Gilas. They will only be able to join Gilas in the final months of their preparation for the 2011 Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Wuhan, China on October 2011.
Commissioner Chito Salud was steadfast in saying that the rule of the PBA must be followed. He said:
“The players borrowed by Smart Gilas retained the option of playing in the third conference provided that if they decide to play, it’s from start to finish. And if they decide not to play, it’s from start to finish. But there’s no question that they will play for the national team by September.”
To think that the president of Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP), Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) personally asked the PBA if they can get the services of Williams and Alapag, Gilas really needs their services. The PBA agreed to loan not only Kelly and Jimmy but also Hontiveros and Taulava who will be playing his final year for the National team. The conditions above were still not present back then. They have agreed that they will allow those 4 players to give their full time to Smart Gilas but now they seem to have changed their minds. MVP did all his best to convince them to loan the much needed 4 players, but the PBA seemed to have lost their interest to support the National Team.
Talk 'n Text on the other hand, also wants to retain their two star players, Kelly and Jimmy because they also want to achieve a grand slam. MVP is the owner of Talk 'n Text and he seems to be in the middle of everything. He wants to help Smart Gilas and he also wants to win a grand slam. Well, in the end the burden of choice lies on Jimmy and Kelly. They have to weigh the situation. Will they stay with TNT or will they go and help Smart Gilas?
Smart Gilas definitely needs their help because they need scoring power and veteran smarts. They are still very frail and they can't seem to do it alone without the help of those PBA players. Also, I believe that it will be a gamble on the part of Kelly and Jimmy if they will join Gilas. They have a clearer path if they would stay with TNT and win a grand slam than playing for Smart Gilas who still have a lot more work to do.
To clarify the case, we have received a statement from Jimmy Alapag. He said:
“It’s a very, very rare opportunity that Kelly and I will have. First and foremost, to represent the country. Representing our country in the game of basketball is probably unlike any other country just because of how passionate we Filipinos are about the game. To be back to the national team is a huge honor and we’re looking forward to it. At the same time, knowing that we have an opportunity to help Talk ‘N Text achieve a grand slam is an honor and a blessing. Kelly and I understand we have a huge task ahead of us, but we’re excited and we know we have to put in the work for TNT and of course for Gilas.”
There it is, it's clear that Jimmy wants to serve the country and at the same time get a grand slam. Hopefully the PBA can be more lenient to him and to these other guys. They have a difficult task ahead of them and all we can do is pray for them. If the PBA will not allow them to play for Smart Gilas, then that will be detrimental to our National Team. Only God knows how these things will unfold.