MANILA, Philippines – Javee Mocon failed to make the cut in Gilas Pilipinas' lineup for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers as the coaching staff decided to inject youth into the roster as foundation for the future.
Interim head coach Mark Dickel explained that they felt amateur standouts Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos are capable of filling in the forward position that the Rain or Shine sophomore also plays.
"Javee ended up being the unlucky PBA player, that, though, no fault of his own," said Dickel on Wednesday, February 19.
"I just felt like we had other players that were younger at his position that for the future are really good," he added after announcing the 12-man lineup for the clash against Indonesia on February 23.
Mocon joined Marc Pingris as the only PBA players to miss the cut in the final lineup.
"You know it's just unlucky for Javee, and when I told him today, I mean he was nothing but professional," Dickel said.
Another player Dickel admitted to having a hard time cutting from the lineup was gutsy guard Allyn Bulanadi.
Bulanadi was 1 of the 5 players loaned by the PBA to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas in preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, but only Mike Nieto and Isaac Go made the final roster.
"There's a lot of tough decisions, like Allyn Bulanadi. I thought that he was so good in practices," Dickel said.
"But we felt we had it covered with Roger (Pogoy) and CJ (Perez) in particular in that spot. And Allyn, his time will come."
Gilas Pilipinas will have two more practices before flying to Indonesia on Friday, February 21.
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.