MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – It's down to 14 men.
Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio on Thursday, June 9 announced the final 14-man lineup that will fly to Europe for training camp and pocket tournaments through the month of June.
Those in the lineup are: Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Troy Rosario, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Ray Parks, Terrence Romeo, Ryan Reyes, and Andray Blatche.
The 14 joining the Gilas camp: Jayson RDO Troy Ryan Gabe Jeff Junemar Ping Calvin Japeth LA RayRay Andray Terrence #LabanPilipinas #PUSO — Butch Antonio (@BAAntonio) June 8, 2016
Only Marcio Lassiter did not make the cut. The San Miguel Beer marksman practiced sparingly since the PBA Commissioner's Cup wrapped up owing to a leg injury, which was followed by bronchitis, leaving him weak.
Lassiter showed up to practice in street clothes on Sunday, June 5, when the coaching staff sent him home with instructions for a specific diet to regain his strength, according to coach Tab Baldwin.
But Lassiter was also not at the Iran tune-up game Wednesday, June 8, nor at the joint training session the day prior.
Meanwhile, gunner Chan is on his way back from a groin injury. Speaking to a couple of reporters after the Iran game, Chan said he will need two to 3 more days as he is now already able to do shooting drills.
In particular, Reyes, who has been flying under the radar but is a quiet worker for Gilas since November, made one last strong case for himself in the tune-up with an impressive performance on both offense and defense. He scored 12 points, missing only one of his 5 attempts from long range, and was also +12 in his over 14 minutes on the court.
Gilas cadet Parks, who returned home last month after a season in the NBA D-League playing for the Texas Legends, was likewise impressive with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and a plus/minus of +11 in over 20 minutes.
Aguilar is back in the Gilas fold as well after missing last year's FIBA Asia tourney. In the tune-up, he was perfect from the field (5-of-5) for his 12 points as he went to his mid-range game.
Gilas mainstay Norwood proved very effective despite not scoring a point against Iran with a +22 plus/minus that Baldwin made sure to acknowledge.
Romeo, who continues his national team stint after exploding on the international scene last year, added 11 points. Naturalized big man Blatche was topscored with 20 points on top of 11 rebounds and 4 steals.
Tenorio and Fajardo are likewise back with Gilas after their absence last year. There is much anticipation and promise surrounding the combination of Fajardo, a two-time PBA MVP, and Blatche on the floor – a tandem that was first glimpsed in the training session with Iran.
Only 12 players will ultimately play in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated here from July 5 to 10, where Gilas hopes to nab a ticket to the Rio Olympics in August. The two other players will become reserves.
The Philippine team departs for Greece on Friday, June 10. – Rappler.com