Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes named the players who will don the national colors in international tournaments including the 2017 FIBA Asia Championship to be held in Lebanon.
Reyes announced the inclusion of Calvin Abueva of Alaska, Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra, Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine, Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text, Art Dela Cruz of Blackwater, June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Jonathan Grey of Meralco, Bradwyn Guinto of Northern Luzon Expressway, Paul Lee of Star Hotshots, LA Revilla of Mahindra, Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort and Norbert Torres of Phoenix Petroleum in the 24-man national pool for the upcoming regional FIBA tournaments.
“If you notice, the oldest in the line-up is 30-year-old because we’re also preparing for the 2019 World Championship in China,” Reyes told reporters during press conference after the first game of the PBA at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
“We are forming our strongest team for the SEABA in April because that’s the qualifying for the FIBA Asia this year,” he said. “We are focused first in SEABA. We don’t want to overlook SEABA after that, we’ll sit down for SEA Games and FIBA Asia Cup.”
The other members of the 24-man pool are the Gilas cadets Mac Belo of Blackwater, Carl Bryan Cruz of Alaska, Ed Daquioag of Meralco, Russel Escoto of Mahindra, Kevin Ferrer of Ginebra, Alfonso Gotladera of NLEX, Jio Jalalon of Star Hotshots, Von Pessumal of GlobalPorts, RR Pogoy of Talk ‘N Text, Mike Tolomia of Rain or Shine Arnold Van Opstal of San Miguel Beer and Matthew Wright of Phoenix.
“It’s a very young team, it’s balanced, it helps us run a system we want to run. We like to the combo of youth and veteran smarts,” Reyes added. “Not having guys like Gabe (Norwood), Ranidel de Ocampo and Jean Marc Pingris is a big loss even from a leadership standpoint.”
The venue and the final date of SEABA Championship in April are not yet to be finalized by the FIBA.