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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The final 12-man roster of Gilas Pilipinas for the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila next month was revealed during a TV5 special on Sunday evening, June 26.
LA Tenorio and Calvin Abueva did not make the cut, leaving Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Andray Blatche, Marc Pingris, Ryan Reyes, Troy Rosario, Jeff Chan and Bobby Ray Parks Jr in the roster for the Manila OQT.
Tenorio has been a Gilas mainstay since the 2.0 version, and was named MVP of the 2012 William Jones Cup after willing the Philippines past USA in the final. Abueva made his Gilas debut in the 2015 William Jones Cup and was the team’s spark plug off the bench in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China, where Gilas finished second.
The inclusion is Reyes’ first with the team, while Parks has represented the country internationally in the SEA Games and SEABA tournaments.
“It was difficult but what made it easier is the way they responded, the way they took the decision. It was team first before them,” team manager Butch Antonio said during the program of how Tenorio and Abueva handled their cuts.
Originally a 24-man pool, the Philippine national team was reduced to 14 players before Coach Tab Baldwin, his staff, and Gilas management decided on the 12 men who will represent the country as it vies for a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympics in August.
Gilas will face France on July 5, Tuesday, to kick off its OQT campaign, followed by a game against New Zealand on Wednesday. If the Philippines is one of the two teams in its group that advances, it will potentially face Senegal, Turkey, or Canada in the semis.
If Gilas makes the finals, it will battle with the remaining team from the other bracket for the ticket to Rio. Only one nation will get one of the 3 remaining spots in the Olympics’ men’s basketball tournament, with the other two going to the winners of the Qualifying Tournaments in Turin and Belgrade.
The Philippine team is currently in Bologna, Italy for a pocket tournament ahead of the Manila OQT. So far in tune-up games, Gilas has defeated rival Iran but lost by big margins versus Turkey and Italy.
Gilas is set to have another tune-up match against Turkey on Philippine soil at the Mall of Asia Arena on July 1.
The Philippines is aiming for its first trip to the Olympic basketball tournament since 1972. – Rappler.com