Gilas Pilipinas’ Thailand-whipping youngsters get bubble invite
All 15 players of Gilas Pilipinas who flew to Bahrain for the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers recently will be invited to join the pool for the third qualifying window in February.
“They all deserve to be part of the pool and earn a shot at making the team for the third window,” national coach Jong Uichico said.
A young squad led by Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) draftees who have yet to have play a single game and amateur standouts like Dwight Ramos, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño and Kobe Paras blitzed Thailand in two matches that pushed the Filipinos to a 3-0 slate in Group A of the qualifiers.
Those two wins put Gilas Pilipinas within a win of qualifying for the Fiba Asia Cup in Indonesia next year.
The Philippines has three games in its third window schedule, with two games against powerhouse South Korea and one against Indonesia on tap.
Uichico said who among the 15 players will make the final cut largely depends on how many PBA standouts will be added to the training bubble. All players in the bubble will form the pool for the third window.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is set to forward a list of PBA players it is hoping to add to the mix.
“Once the pool is there, that’s the time the SBP can begin figuring out who will make the squad,” Uichico said.
Among those whose names are expected to be listed in SBP’s request to the PBA are the TNT quintet of Ray Parks Jr., RR Pogoy, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Poy Erram—all of whom have served the national team in the past. Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and Phoenix sniper Matthew Wright are also expected to be part of the list.
SBP has said it is looking at a mix of PBA players and young amateurs to make up the squad for the third window.
The pool could also feature players who are currently fulfilling commitments internationally like Kai Sotto, who has declared himself available for February, and Thirdy Ravena.
Sotto is currently with a developmental NBA G League squad while Ravena is playing in Japan.
“If Thirdy is available, he’ll likely get an invite for the pool,” Uichico said. INQ
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