Philippine basketball

LeBron Lopez joins Gilas Pilipinas training as FIBA World Cup qualifiers loom

Delfin Dioquino
LeBron Lopez joins Gilas Pilipinas training as FIBA World Cup qualifiers loom



Francis 'LeBron' Lopez is the latest Gilas Pilipinas player to reunite with the national team

MANILA, Philippines – With his professional career stalled, Francis “LeBron” Lopez is keeping himself busy as he joined Gilas Pilipinas in practice.

In a video posted by national team head coach Chot Reyes on Monday, February 14, the former Ateneo Blue Eaglets standout trained with the squad at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in Ateneo.

“The new and the old,” Reyes wrote as caption to his Instagram video that also showed former Gilas stalwart Marc Pingris participating in the drills.

Lopez showed flashes of brilliance in his lone appearance for Gilas, putting up 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal in a rout of Indonesia in the last window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in 2021.

A highly touted prospect after earning a UAAP Mythical Five selection during his lone season with the Blue Eaglets, the 18-year-old opted to skip college and signed with Overtime Elite in the United States to become a pro.

The high-flying Lopez, though, reportedly has yet to play with the squad due to visa issues.

Still in the Philippines, Lopez answered the call of the national team as they continue their preparations for the February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Lopez is the latest Gilas player to reunite with the national team after Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, and Juan Gomez de Liaño returned home from Japan to play in the upcoming FIBA window.

They are joined by Angelo Kouame, William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, and Tzaddy Rangel, and will be reinforced by NorthPort star Robert Bolick and TNT players to be handpicked by Reyes.

Gilas takes on Korea on February 24, India on February 25, New Zealand on February 27, and Korea again on February 28 at the Araneta Coliseum. –

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.