‘Not snubbed’: Rivero, La Salle standouts beg off from initial Gilas pool
La Salle standout Ricci Rivero was conspicuously absent from the initial list of players Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes wants for the national team pool for the 2023 Fiba World Cup.
This was despite the earlier pronouncement of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan that the likes of the high-flying Rivero were part of the future of the Gilas program.
But Reyes clarified Friday that Rivero and the other Green Archers like Aljun Melecio were “not snubbed” and their exclusion from the Gilas pool was the decision of La Salle.
“The school has actually asked us not to include any of their players first because they’re in a process of transition and reformation of their program,” he said in an interview on SportsCenter Philippines.
La Salle is still reeling from the departure of head coach Aldin Ayo, who transferred to University of Santo Tomas for the Growling Tigers. Assistant coach Louie Gonzalez has since been named as the new man at the helm for the Green Archers.
Abu Tratter was the lone Lasallian who made the list, but the 24-year-old slotman has already exhausted his playing years and will no longer play for the school this upcoming UAAP season.
Pangilinan name dropped Rivero as one of the players who he felt was one of the possible additions to the national team pool in the future alongside current pool members Roger Pogoy of TNT, Kiefer Ravena of NLEX, his brother Thirdy, as well as Robert Bolick of San Beda and CJ Perez of Lyceum.
“These are the kids that will be in the prime of their careers by that time. We have the raw materials, but we have to train and bond properly. We know that we have six years to prepare for the tournament, so it’s good for them to develop their bonding early,” he said in a previous report.
The younger Ravena, Bolick, and Perez were all included in Reyes initial list.
Reyes, however, made it clear that the list is still not final and he is still open to adding a few players who he feels will be valuable in helping the country make an impact come 2023.
“This is a pool. This is a list, and it doesn’t mean that these are the players who will all play in 2023 because there are still young players in current Gilas pool. It’s up to them to prove to us who belongs to that final roster,” he said.
Players from Reyes’ “23 for 23” wishlist are expected to show up and take part in Gilas Pilipinas’ evening practice on Monday at Meralco Gym as the squad gears up for the second leg of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers on February.
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