Schonny Winston, Jordan Heading impress at Gilas camp
MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas is finding some sort of relief in its growing manpower woes with Jordan Heading and Schonny Winston around.
With Roger Pogoy out due to a bone bruise, national coach Chot Reyes said that the basketball program is finding solace in the two players’ recent showing in camp.
“We’ve been very impressed with how Jordan is playing. Not only him but Schonny Winston has been performing very well, too,” he told reporters shortly after the National Team’s practice at Meralco Gym on Monday evening.
“In terms of our depth chart, after Roger in that spot, those are [among] the players who are there,” he said.
It is also worth noting that Gilas also has Ray Parks Jr., the former PBA star who is now plying his trade in Japan.
“You know me. I’m just trying to get ready for when they need me,” the two-way gunner told the Inquirer while wrapping up his cool-down routine, hard at work even despite celebrating his 30th birthday.
“I’m just here looking to do my best,” he added.
Pogoy, easily one of the deadliest shooters in the 24-man talent pool, has ruled himself from the sixth and final window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers that will pit the Philippines against Lebanon and Jordan this week.
The TNT ace has joined big men Japeth Aguilar and Kai Sotto among those who are going to be unavailable for the two home stands that are being used to prepare for the global meet here in August.
“We have to make a final decision on who’s making the final 12,” Reyes said. “But like we said, part of the commitment (with Gilas) is to be here, be a part of the pool without any assurance with [whether you are] going to make the final [roster].”
“If they’re not willing to accept that, then they have to let us now, but so far, everyone understands what it takes,” he said.
Reyes said that the Gilas coaching staff, which includes the decorated Tim Cone and seasoned Jong Uichico will have to make a “collective decision by 12 noon of the 24th.”
“We’ll see what happens because my experience with these things is that anything could happen—someone can fall sick, roll an ankle or [suffer] a strain. So you’ll never know. That’s why we’re telling everyone to just be ready.”
Gilas ramps up its preparations on Tuesday, adding another morning sessions to its nightly practices.
The Philippines is currently 5-3 in Group E play, not really needing to win games as it has already assured of a spot in the World Cup by virtue of being the host.
Kelly Williams added to Gilas Pilipinas roster
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