FIBA World Cup

15-man Gilas pool finalizing prep for FIBA World Cup qualifiers

Delfin Dioquino
15-man Gilas pool finalizing prep for FIBA World Cup qualifiers

PRO PLAYERS. PBA standouts once again reinforce Gilas Pilipinas' pool as former national team stalwart Marc Pingris (left) also joins the coaching staff.

Marc Pingris Facebook page

Gilas Pilipinas has reduced its original 22-man pool to 15 as it continues to finalize its preparations for the February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines – And then there were 15.

Gilas Pilipinas has reduced its original 22-man pool to 15 as it continues to finalize its preparations for the upcoming window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.

Seven PBA players reinforce the national team, which wrapped up its “foundation practice” at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, February 23, just two days before it opens its campaign against visiting India.

NorthPort star Robert Bolick and TNT standouts Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram, Kelly Williams, Gab Banal, and Kib Montalbo have been chosen for the 15-man pool.

Completing the pool are naturalized big man Angelo Kouame, Japan B. League players Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, and Juan Gomez de Liaño, Overtime Elite signee LeBron Lopez, and Gilas draftees William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, and Tzaddy Rangel.

Those who did not make it from the initial 22-man pool were Jayson Castro, Brian Heruela, Glenn Khobuntin, JJ Alejandro, Ryan Reyes, Carl Bryan Cruz, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.

Head coach Chot Reyes reiterated the need to focus on the big picture as Gilas seeks to use the Asian Qualifiers to build chemistry ahead of the World Cup, which the country will co-host next year.

“Keep the preparation up. Keep your minds on the task at hand,” Reyes said in a video posted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on its social media accounts. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

“Remember, we’re building for 2023, we’re not building for this window alone. We’re building for the long haul so you got to make sure that you can continue to discipline your minds and especially your emotions.”

The national team was slated to play four games in five days for the February window as it hosts fellow Group A teams Korea, New Zealand, and India.

But Gilas will instead see action in just two matches after Korea pulled out due to a positive COVID-19 result, putting its February 24 and 28 duels against the Philippines in peril of getting forfeited.

The Filipinos take on the Indians on Friday, February 25 and the Kiwis on February 27. – Rappler.com

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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.