Excess guards for Gilas five

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Kiefer Ravena showed up for practice on Monday, making a total of four point guards vying for spots in the Gilas Pilipinas roster that will play Japan and Chinese Taipei later this month at the start of the Fiba World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers.

Terrence Romeo also reported for work earlier. Together with Jayson Castro and the improved Kevin Alas in the pool, there will be four point guards that Reyes would have to choose from in time for the clash with the Japanese slated Nov. 24 in Tokyo.

But having so many point guards in his squad is not new to Reyes, who took four with him to Seville, Spain, in 2014—Castro, Romeo, Paul Lee and Jimmy Alapag—in the World Cup where the Filipinos won a round robin game for the first time in 40 years, an 81-79 overtime decision of Senegal.

Reyes would have had a fifth guard in the pool in Jio Jalalon, who has been out because of a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury.

The Filipinos will tangle with the Taiwanese at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao on Nov. 27, which naturalized player Quincy Davis III was reportedly ruled out to play for Chinese Taipei because of an injury.

Andray Blatche, Gilas’ naturalized center, will arrive Nov. 12 to join the Nationals in practice.

The first round of the hectic qualifying process will end in February for the Filipinos when they travel to Australia to play the world-power Aussies who, in turn, will also play here.

Ira Brown is vying for a spot in the Japanese national side as its naturalized player, but unlike the Philippines and Taipei which enlisted big men in the 6-foot-11 Blatche and the 6-foot-10 Davis III, respectively, Brown is a 6-foot-4 guard.

Joji Takeuchi remains to be one of the big guns for the Japanese. A 6-foot-10 center with soft hands and quick feet Takeuchi has seen his share of battles with Gilas.

Reigning four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Castro, Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood and Matthew Wright are considered shoo-ins by most.


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