Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes announced the 14-man roster of the team that will take on Australia and Japan in the 2nd window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifer a day before the team departed for Melbourne.
The controversial national team mentor named fan-favorite Calvin Abueva as one of the members of the Final 14 despite an earlier pronouncement that “The Beast” is definitely out of consideration for the upcoming matches.
Aside from Abueva, another surprise was Abu Tratter who is actually part of the Gilas pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup which will primarily be held in Manila.
Reyes explained that Abueva’s display of commitment to the national team despite no assurance of his reinstatement prompted the coaching staff to back track on their initial verdict.
“In spite of the fact that alam ni Calvin na hindi siya makakasama sa second window, panay pa rin ang punta niya sa practice. Wala kang maririnig sa kanya. He came and he was very committed,” said Reyes.
Making the decision to recall Abueva much easier was the failure of Troy Rosario to secure medical clearance and Mac Belo still recovering from a leg injury.
With regards to the small line-up which will go up against an Australian squad boasting of an average height of 6-foot-6, Reyes says the team will be banking of sheer heart and determination in overcoming tremendous odds against the 10th ranked team in the world.
“We don’t lack in effort and in commitment. We lacked the time, we lacked in preparation but our fighting heart is still there,” said Reyes.
The game between Gilas and the Boomers is set on February 22, 4:35pm (Manila time) at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, Australia.