Gilas Pilipinas to compete in Jordan tilt
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas will compete in the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan from July 25 to Aug. 3 as part of its buildup for the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup, which tips off next month in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Three other countries aside from the Philippines and host Jordan have committed to participate such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Tunisia.
“Entering the bubble is forced on all of us since we are heading to Jordan on the 23rd. It’s the long-term vision of the program that we have to look at here. We have to take advantage of every minute of games that we can get,” said Gilas program director Tab Baldwin.
“We’ll be going up against quality teams with different styles compared to the ones we faced in the Asia Cup Qualifiers.”
Gilas is currently back in its training bubble in Calamba, Laguna after testing the stiff competition in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.
“The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas wanted the team to get more games so we looked for the best possible option and decided that Jordan will be a great destination,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio.
“Jordan has always been one of the better teams in Asia so going up against them should be beneficial for our young squad. We’re also looking forward to going up against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Tunisia.”
The Gilas pool will be composed of the players who competed in the Asia Cup qualifiers and the OQT led by Dwight Ramos, Ange Kouame and Carl Tamayo.
Also part of the pool are Justine Baltazar, SJ Belangel, Geo Chiu, Isaac Go, Jordan Heading, William Navarro and Mike Nieto.
Rejoining the pool from the injured list are Dave Ildefonso and 2019 Gilas Special Draftees Matt Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte. Thirdy Ravena is also in the pool with Kenmark Carino, Jaydee Tungcab, and Tzaddy Rangel.
Baldwin said Gilas is nearing full strength after being banged up following its participation in the two qualifiers.
“Will and Carl are recovering from their respective injuries but should be cleared within the week. Dwight, on the other hand, has fully recovered,” Baldwin said, adding that only 15 of the 19 players included in the pool will travel with the team to Jordan.
Kai Sotto’s status for the Jordan tilt and the Asia Cup is still up in the air as his camp and the SBP are currently discussing the matter.
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