Reyes to decide on Gilas final 12 on eve of deadline
The announcement of Gilas Pilipinas’ final 12-man lineup for the Fiba World Cup qualifying will have to wait until on the eve of its game against Japan slated next Saturday in Tokyo.
As it stands, the Philippines has 15 players and with naturalized player Andray Blatche taking one spot, four will have to be cut.
National team coach Chot Reyes said the team hasn’t decided yet on who among the players from the pool will make it, but the remaining 15 will all make the trip to Japan on November 21.
“We really don’t know yet at this point. We will make the final line up the night before the deadline is due,” Reyes told reporters during Gilas’ sendoff Saturday at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pasig. “That means everyone here is going to go with us in Japan.”
Players present at the press conference were June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Matthew Wright, Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo, Kevin Alas, Allein Maliksi, Carl Bryan Cruz and Gabe Norwood.
Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo were not able to join the team in the presser but all three are going to Japan.
Blatche is expected to arrive in Manila on Saturday night. He has not donned the national colors since the 2017 Seaba Championship last May.
Gilas arrived at the press conference just shortly after beating the NLEX Road Warriors in a tuneup game, 95-87.
The Philippines takes on Japan on Nov. 24 at Komozawa Gymnasium before hosting Chinese Taipei three days later at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reyes did not guarantee victories, but he said that the players have really committed themselves since training began.
“And that is the most difficult sacrifice of the players here. They’ve been practicing here twice a day since November 3 and there is no assurance not one person in this lineup, in the pool that he will make it to the final 12 and yet they’ve all come in and offered to serve,” Reyes said.
“And that’s what we can promise, to come and continue to play our best and hopefully, the winning will take care of itself. we’re jut making sure that we’re putting the work in.”