Jordan Clarkson, Kai Sotto lead Gilas Final 12 for Fiba World Cup
Jordan Clarkson and a ferocious frontline that features Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo banner the Gilas Pilipinas roster for the Fiba World Cup.
Joining the five are program cornerstone Dwight Ramos, PBA Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, and another Ginebra standout Jamie Malonzo.
Also making the final 12 are CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, and Roger Pogoy, who also saw action in the previous edition of the quadrennial meet held in China.
Rounding out the cast is high-leaping swingman and fan favorite Rhenz Abando.
Inquirer Sports obtained the final roster list on Wednesday ahead of the official announcement.
Fajardo and Aguilar were members of the Gilas crew sent to Seville, Spain, in 2014. They also saw action in the Foshan showcase in 2019.
Aguilar has been named captain of the Philippine squad that will try to tab the lone Asian ticket to the Summer Olympic Games set in Paris, France, next year.
FINAL ROSTER CUTS
Two-way guard Chris Newsome was the Gilas brain trust’s final cut. He was still included in Fiba’s traditional pre-tournament photoshoot which was held at Rizal Memorial late Tuesday night.
“Fit,” national coach Chot Reyes said when asked about the foremost qualification for the final roster. “Fit with the way we want to play and fit with each other’s styles of play.”
“More than anything, it’s [going to be] the players who we feel would give us the best chance to pull off a victory,” he added during a special media availability for the local media also Tuesday night.
Other cuts were Ray Parks Jr., Calvin Oftana, and Ravena’s younger brother Thirdy who was also dubbed as a program pillar by Reyes during his return to the Gilas saddle.
Tim Cone, Jong Uichico, and Reyes’ son Josh comprise the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff.
World No. 41 Philippines will open its campaign against the No. 23 Dominican Republic this Friday. The Nationals then battle No. 41 Angola on Sunday before wrapping up its group phase against No. 10 Italy.