Gilas could field in youngest team assembled in June–Baldwin
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines could be fielding in its most youthful Gilas Pilipinas ever formed when it plunges back into competition with a pair of tournaments in June.
Gilas entered the training bubble in Calamba, Laguna earlier this month with 11 new faces including a high school standout along with the cadets in preparation for the third window of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament three months from now.
“Not only is this the youngest Gilas group ever assembled, it’s probably the youngest that could be assembled and still be called Gilas,” said Gilas program director Tab Baldwin on talk show The Game. “If we went any younger, we’d be calling them Batang Gilas.”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas went with the cadets after PBA stars were deemed unavailable for training ahead of both tournaments.
Gilas plays Indonesia and rival South Korea twice in the final window and powerhouses Serbia and Dominican Republic in the OQT.
Among the young guns included in the bubble are the likes of RJ Abarrientos of Far Eastern University, Carl Tamayo of University of the Philippines, Gian Mamuyac of Ateneo and Lebron Lopez of Ateneo High School.
Baldwin thinks having a pool filled with young and up-and-comers is a step in the right direction in building a solid foundation and creating a bright future for the country’s basketball program.
“Everybody we brought here, I believe, is in some way a prospect for Gilas in the future if they fulfill their potential if they work to become the players they are promising to be,” Baldwin said.
“Obviously, we’re looking for a Gilas team to play in the June competitions but we’re also preparing for those situations in the future where we call players into Gilas camp.”
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