Sotto, Fajardo in action as Gilas prep resumes

Delfin Dioquino
Twelve of the 20 pool players selected by head coach Yeng Guiao are present in Day 1 of the buildup for the fifth window of the Asian Qualifiers for the World Cup

YOUNG GUNS. Kai Sotto and Ricci Rivero – two of the youngest players in Team Pilipinas' 20-man pool – answer Yeng Guiao's call-up. Photo by Delfin Dioquino/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas resumed its preparation for the Asian Qualifiers of the 2019 FIBA World Cup with arguably the best roster assembled in recent memory. 

Reigning 4-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and 7-foot-1 wunderkind Kai Sotto were in attendance as the national team’s buildup for the fifth window of the Qualifiers went underway on Monday, November 12, at the Meralco Gym. 

Twelve of the 20 pool players selected by head coach Yeng Guiao were present in Day 1 as Team Pilipinas slowly geared up for its home games against Kazakhstan and Iran on November 30 and December 3, respectively. 

Fajardo was joined by San Miguel teammates Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos in the practice. 

Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Poy Erram and Matthew Wright – players who saw action in the last window – were also in attendance for Team Pilipinas, which is backed by Smart. 

Meanwhile, returning from their 3-game FIBA suspension are Gilas mainstays Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario. 

Gilas cadet Ricci Rivero also answered Guiao’s call-up. 

Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger, who would be vying for the squad’s naturalized player spot, have yet to arrive as of posting time. 

Magnolia’s Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang and Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter were not present due to their semifinals game in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup.

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.