MANILA, Philippines – Samahang ng Basketbol Pilipinas, the country’s governing body for basketball, announced their 24-man pool for the FIBA Asia Championship, which takes place September 23 to October 3 in Changsha, China.
(READ AND VOTE: Build your Gilas Pilipinas dream team)
The list, which was posted by veteran basketball reporter Quinito Henson on Tuesday, August 25, lists young newcomers like Ateneo de Manila University’s Kiefer Ravena and two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr, who went unselected in the recent NBA Draft before playing for the Dallas Mavericks Summer League team.
Among holdovers from the 2014 FIBA World Cup team are naturalized big man Andray Blatche, Jimmy Alapag, Gabe Norwood, Marc Pingris, Gary David, Ranidel De Ocampo, June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee and LA Tenorio.
But the name that is sure to draw the most attention is the inclusion of Jordan Clarkson, the Filipino-American Los Angeles Lakers guard whose eligibility to play for Gilas Pilipinas as a “natural born” player was revealed this week by SBP.
Clarkson arrived in Manila on Monday night amid high hopes and intrigue over news of his possible eligibility.
Other names on the list include Filipino-Tongan Moala Tautuaa, who was selected first overall by Talk ’N Text in the 2015 PBA Draft on Sunday, plus No. 2 pick Troy Rosario, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva, JC Intal, Aldrech Ramos, Asi Taulava, Terrence Romeo and Marcio Lassiter.
The form is dated August 20 with a deadline date listed as August 23. It was signed by SBP director Sonny Barrios.
All 24 players on the list listed Philippines as their “Nationality at Present” except for Clarkson, whose nationality reads “USA/Phils”. Aside from Clarkson, who was born in the U.S. state of Florida to a Filipina mother, Blatche, Alapag, Norwood, Lassiter and Tautuaa all listed America as their country of birth, while Thoss was born in Papua New Guinea and Taulava was born in Tonga.
Among the players named in the pool, several have either begged off from competition or sustained injuries which prevented their inclusion. Tenorio has said he wanted to take time off from non-stop play over the past few years, while the reigning two-time Philippine Basketball Association MVP Fajardo says plantar fascitis on both feet will prevent his participation.
The oldest player in the pool is the 42-year-old Taulava, while the youngest is the 22-year-old Ravena. – Rappler.com