PBA will lend more players to short-handed Gilas Pilipinas | Inquirer Sports
PLAYERS STILL RECOVERING FROM INJURIES

PBA will lend more players to short-handed Gilas Pilipinas

/ 04:30 AM June 20, 2023

Gilas Pilipinas Fiba World Cup

Chot Reyes’ preparations for the World Cup have been hit by injuries. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) said that it is ready to lend even more players to the national basketball program amid the persisting manpower problems ahead of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup.

“We are committed to whatever Gilas Pilipinas needs — from players to coaches and even ball boys. Whatever they need, we’re ready to give,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone on Monday afternoon.

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“Coach Chot [Reyes] and I have been in communication since he shared the list of the pool. And we’ve been on standby since after he mentioned that there are some who are still recovering from injuries,” he added.

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As of Monday, only 13 of the original 21 names that make up the Gilas pool for the World Cup have been training at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna province, with Dwight Ramos being the latest player to join the buildup.

Health concerns

Gilas Pilipinas during one of its training sessions for the SEA Games 2023 basketball tournament. | DENISON DALUPANG/INQUIRER

Gilas Pilipinas during one of its training sessions for the SEA Games 2023 basketball tournament. | Denison Rey A. Dalupang/Inquirer

The talent pool had been initally reduced to 20 players following former University of the Philippines star Carl Tamayo’s pull out due to a knee issue. Several standouts have yet to join the preps for the global showcase due to health concerns as well, among them Calvin Oftana, Jordan Heading, Roger Pogoy and Ray Parks Jr.

Reyes said last June 12 that “there’s no hard and fast number for the pool” and that the Gilas brain trust “can always add guys or subtract guys from the pool,” but admitted that it has already affected the national team’s preparation for the World Cup, which gets going here on Aug. 25.

“We’re already on a—the best way to put it—cram schedule. But that’s just the way it is. The reality is injuries are part of it,” he said.

While only 12 names could see action per country in the World Cup, Fiba has no limits for the number of players a nation could list for its training pool.

As things stand, Ivory Coast has turned in 31 names for its talent pool, while Iran has submitted 27. Montenegro listed 24 names for its buildup, while Australia has identified only 18 players.

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Marcial said he has yet to be notified of the names that could be plucked from the pioneering pro league which is currently playing exhibition games within the Metro and neighboring cities.

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Gilas is scheduled to leave for Estonia on June 22 for a slew of tuneup games to help them prepare against the Dominican Republic, Angola and World No. 10 Italy—and more if the Philippines gets past the group phase of the World Cup.

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TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Sports

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