Dickel still Gilas coach, for now

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    GILAS Pilipinas interim coach Mark Dickel can sleep well at night, knowing he is still the man for the job, for now.

    “Kung naalala niyo, ang interim head coach (of Gilas) ay si Mark Dickel,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios said last Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast.

    “Unless and until there is an announcement otherwise, siya ang interim head coach,” he added.

    Dickel, a New Zealander-Australian, is also TNT’s consultant in the pro league. He called the shots for the Filipino dribblers in their 100-70 whipping of Indonesia last Feb. 24 in the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

    Barrios said the SBP is eyeing to name a permanent tactician late this year, but the decision might be affected by uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Towards the end of this year there will be some decision on who is the permanent head coach,” related Barrios. “Pero baka may setback because of this COVID interruption.”

    Despite the coronavirus crisis, preparations for the country’s co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia of the 2023 FIBA World Cup are in full swing.

    The logo unveiling and draw for the qualifiers are expected to be held this year.

    “Iyan ang isa sa mga maagang topics (event logo). Iyon ngang logo, mayroon na kaming napili but still confidential. May napili na ang tatlong bayan but subject to the formal approval by the FIBA Central Board,” said Barrios.

    “Pinag-uusapan iyong launching na originally set for September this year. Iyong launching na iyan, very tentative pa at pinag-uusapan pa kung may actual physical event or digital na lang for safety purposes. Iyong draw ceremony, supposedly around last quarter of this year, very tentative pa iyon, at pinag-uusapan pa iyong draw ceremony, baka digital draw ceremony na lang.”

    Barrios, who was joined by SBP Director for Operations Butch Antonio in the weekly Forum powered by Smart and presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., insisted the SBP is working double time to prepare for the global cage spectacle set from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, 2023.

    “Maya’t maya, may meeting kami with FIBA. Nagmi-meeting kami with Japan and Indonesia upon the encouragement of MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan). (He’s been telling us) huwag niyong kausapin ang Japan and Indonesia only if FIBA wants a video call,” he said.

    “Dapat on our own initiative, nag-uusap tayong magpa-partner at nage-exchange notes tayo.”

    The nationals were set to clash with Thailand last Feb. 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum but the match was called off due to the threat posed by COVID-19.

    Gilas’ next games are set in November this year and in February next year, but both windows have yet to be confirmed.