Asian Games

Abueva, Romeo return as Gilas Pilipinas gears up for Asian Games

Delfin Dioquino

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Abueva, Romeo return as Gilas Pilipinas gears up for Asian Games

THE BEAST. Calvin Abueva in action for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2018 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.


Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo join 11 others in Gilas Pilipinas' first practice for the Asian Games as they return five years since their last national team stint

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas welcomed back familiar faces as it began its preparations for the Asian Games.

Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo have returned to national team duty as they showed up with 11 others in the first practice for the quadrennial showpiece set in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, September 11, at the PhilSports Arena.

Abueva and Romeo have not played for Gilas Pilipinas since they got suspended in 2018 for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl with Australia.

The two join June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, Roger Pogoy, and Japeth Aguilar – holdovers from the FIBA World Cup squad who helped the Philippines finish 24th out of 32 participating countries.

Naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame reinforce the team as the Philippines looks to capture its first Asian Games medal since it won bronze in 1998 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Brownlee and Kouame are both eligible to play since the Asian Games does not follow FIBA eligibility rules, with players only needing to provide passports of the country they choose to represent.

Completing the 13-man roster are Stanley Pringle, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Jason Perkins, and Mo Tautuaa.

Tim Cone – the coach of the 1998 crew – will call the shots anew, with Richard del Rosario, Jong Uichico, LA Tenorio, and Josh Reyes serving as his assistants.

“I’m good with what we got. I think we got a good balance of size, of quickness at the three and four. We’ve got good guards, shooters,” said Cone. “We’re pretty well-equipped.”

Cone said Pringle is an alternate in case of injuries to the other 12 players, while the inclusion of Abueva and Perkins is still subject for approval from the Asian Games organizing committee.

The Nationals will enter training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba City, Laguna, for five days from September 17 to 21.

After that, the Filipinos will face Korean Basketball League team LG Sakers in a tune-up game on September 22 before they fly to Hangzhou on September 23.

Bunched in Group C, Gilas Pilipinas will face Jordan, Thailand, and Bahrain in the preliminary round. –

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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.