Gilas to call up PBA players for Fiba qualifiers in February
MANILA, Philippines—Pro players are expected to beef up Gilas Pilipinas’ for the February window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers which will be hosted by the country.
In a virtual press conference, Program Director Tab Baldwin said that with February window coinciding with the PBA’s break and he’s looking at calling up the pros for Gilas’ matches against Indonesia and South Korea.
The PBA recently concluded the 2020 Philippine Cup in its bubble in Clark, which will also host Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers for Groups A and C.
“In this upcoming window, because the PBA is at a break period, we should be able to access some PBA players,” said Baldwin during the announcement of Fiba and Smart’s partnership Thursday. “But at this point, it’s far too early to be able to delineate how many [from the PBA and of the current players].”
Gilas played a team composed of greenhorns in the November bubble in Bahrain as the PBA was in the middle of the Philippine Cup but the youngsters proved enough as Gilas racked up two wins against Thailand to get to the top of Group A with a 3-0 record.
Dwight Ramos, Justine Baltazar, and brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño showed their chops against the Thais but the next window will be tougher as they play South Korea and Indonesia.
South Korea, at no.30, is ranked one spot higher than the Philippines in the world standings while is at no.89 in the world.
Thailand is at 101 in the world.
The Philippines already beat Indonesia in February 2020 but the team has since added naturalized center and former PBA player Lester Prosper and Brandon Jawato.
“There’s always gonna be room for and a need for experience in our team, if we expect to compete at the elite level,” said Baldwin.
Gilas fielded a mix of pro and amateur players in February this year when it had Kiefer Ravena, RR Pogoy, Abu Tratter, Poy Erram, CJ Perez, and Troy Rosario in the team.
Thirdy Ravena, who’s now with San-en in Japan’s B.League, was also in the lineup.
“We wanna get into camp, we wanna get all of our players into camp, and we wanna see them working out against one another,” said Baldwin. “The ultimate goal for us is to create a talented team, not a team of talents.”
“It takes sacrifice from the players, and I don’t think we have an issue with that here in the Philippines, either with the PBA players who will be invited in, or with our collegiate standouts and our young standout players.”
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