Austin, Ravena lead PH team in 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup
Debuting for the first time in the national colors, Isaiah Austin will be front and center for Chooks-to-Go Gilas Pilipinas when it wages war against club teams in the 2017 Fiba Asia Champions Cup.
The 7-foot-1 center headlines the 12-man roster coach Chot Reyes will be banking on Chenzhou, China from September 22 to 30.
Austin arrived in the country last week to join the PH team and is one of the prospective naturalization candidates for Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) moving forward.
Also, fresh from winning his fourth gold medal in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Kiefer Ravena has been called up anew for national team duty.
Carl Bryan Cruz will also be a part of the team after impressive showings in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup and the 2017 SEA Games, together with cadets Raymar Jose and Almond Vosotros.
Gilas pool members LA Revilla and Norbert Torres were also tabbed to bolster the team.
Teaming up for the first time since their days in Xavier School, brothers Jeron and Jeric Teng will also be in the fold.
Completing the squad are UP swingman Jett Manuel, TNT guard Alfrancis Tamsi, and Congolese big man Rod Ebondo of CEU, who will act as the team’s second import in lieu of UP’s Bright Akhuetie, who failed to secure a clearance from the UAAP.
Flying V’s Gab Banal and AMA’s Andre Paras will also join the team in the tournament as the squad’s reserves.
Sources close to the situation bared the roster. Gilas submitted the list on Monday.
Reyes and Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas will make the official announcement during the team’s sendoff on Tuesday at Discovery Suites Hotel in Mandaluyong.
Big names like Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo were absent in the list as Reyes could not get a clearance from the players’ mother ballclubs despite Alaska and GlobalPort already being booted out in the playoff race of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Chooks-To-Go PH is slotted in Group A and will play ONGC of India, Mono Vampire of Thailand, Petrochimi of Iran, and Sarreyet Ramallah of Palestine in the group stages.
Advancing to the latter stages could also mean a collision course against Filipino naturalized player Andray Blatche, who is suiting up for his mother ballclub Xinjiang Flying Tigers of China.
Gilas is set to leave for Chenzhou on Wednesday.