Gilas Pilipinas names 16-man pool for Vietnam SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines–National coach and Gilas Pilipinas program director Chot Reyes announced a 16-man pool Friday night, one which he felt was filled with players who could best lead the country to a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games.
He forgot to say the team would win the gold in crushing fashion.
Reyes named his Gilas Pilipinas old hands June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright to lead the pool along with other ex-Nationals: Kevin Alas, Robert Bolick, Kib Montalbo, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram, Mo Tautuaa, Isaac Go and Gilas draftee Will Navarro.
“This is a lineup we thought that would give us a best chance in winning the gold,” Reyes said in a hastily-arranged presser at Smart Araneta Coliseum, where he was joined by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, just shortly after his TNT escaped NorthPort in overtime, 106-101.
This edition of the national team will be tasked to keep the Philippines’ stranglehold of the basketball event of the biennial meet that will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Filipinos have won a total of 18 gold medals in the meet.
Also making the contingent are Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena, who suited up alongside Bolick, Montalbo, and Navarro in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers here last month.
The pair, who were installed by Reyes as cornerstone of the national cage program, are expected to be free from their B.League duties by April—just in time for the Nationals’ build-up for the games in Hanoi.
Also in the pool are teenagers Caelum Harris and Francis Lopez, who are part of the long-term plans geared toward the World Cup which the Philippines is set to cohost next year with Japan and Indonesia.
“The key now is how quick we could come together to prepare,” Reyes added.
Aguilar, Wright and PBA’s six-time Most Valuable Player Fajardo last played under Reyes in that infamous game against Australia in Bulacan that ended in a brawl.