UP’s Desiderio, Manuel could be added to Gilas pool
University of the Philippines duo of Paul Desiderio and Jett Manuel were caught off guard when they were introduced as part of the Gilas pool on Monday in the Chooks To Go-Gilas Pilipinas Manok ng Bayan press conference at Makati Shangri-la.
“I didn’t know about it,” said Desiderio.
“I’m unaware of it, but (being a part of the national team) has always been my dream ever since,” Manuel said.
The two, who led the Fighting Maroons in UAAP Season 79, were called up to the stage together with former and current national team players.
But head coach Chot Reyes clarified that the two are just part of the “Gilas family.”
“Desiderio was part of Batang Gilas, and Jett Manuel, he volunteered to be a practice player. They are not in the final Gilas pool but they are part of the greater Gilas family,” he said.
“Again, once you’re a part of Gilas, you’ll always be part of Gilas.”
Gilas team manager Butch Antonio also said the two were only invited, but did not shut down the probability of both being included in the future Gilas pool.
“Nothing official yet,” he said. “Outside of the 12 (cadets), we still have to announce the players from the PBA.”
All of the 12 rookies, except for Arnold Van Opstal, were present for the event, together with ex-Gilas players Terrence Romeo, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel de Ocampo, Dondon Hontiveros, and Sonny Thoss.
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