Aiming for progress for next year’s World Cup, Reyes throws in Erram, B.League imports to latest Gilas squad
The Philippines is getting the big man and extra firepower it needs for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup this week, but national coach Chot Reyes is tempering expectations ahead of the continental showcase.
TNT’s Poy Erram and Japan imports Ray Parks Jr., and Thirdy Ravena have been named by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) as the newest additions to the final lineup that will see action in the contest in Jakarta, Indonesia, which unfurls this Wednesday.
There, Reyes hopes to mix a couple of goals for a program that is building up for the 2023 Fiba World Cup.
“We will try our best to finish in the top eight and improve our ranking in Asia, but the more important thing is progress,” said the national coach and concurrent program director of the SBP.
The cage program had been shopping for a big man to plug the hole in the middle left by naturalized center Ange Kouame, who is nursing a partially torn knee ligament. Erram is averaging 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in the PBA Philippine Cup.
“He (Erram), together with Rayray, and Thirdy have yet to be fully integrated with the other guys, though, as we had just five full practices before our departure [so] cautious optimism and managed expectations going into the Asia Cup,” added Reyes.
Gilas is bracketed with Lebanon, which stand-in coach Nenad Vucinic labeled as a dangerous unknown. Joining the fray are India, a side the Nationals beat handily twice, and New Zealand, which dealt the Philippines two of its biggest beatdowns this year.
“This is part of the continuing development and inculturation towards August 2023,” he said.
Meanwhile in the Philippine Cup, Rain or Shine ripped NLEX, 96-86, behind a strong performance from former Gilas Pilipinas member Santi Santillan.
Santillan came up with 18 points and six rebounds to power the Elasto Painters.