Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes named the members of the 24-man pool for the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup to be held from August 8 to 20 in Beirut, Lebanon.
Gilas veterans June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar, naturalized player Andray Blatche along with returnee Gabe Norwood lead the cast which will represent the country in the 16-nation tournament.
The other members are Gilas mainstays Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario, Raymond Almazan, Jio Jalalon, Calvin Abueva, Allein Maliksi and Filipino-Canadian Matthew Wright.
Also included are cadets Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy, Mike Tolomia, Norbert Torres, Carl Bryan Cruz, Kevin Alas, Kevin Ferrer, Baser Amer, Mac Belo, Kobe Paras, Bobby Ray Parks and Fil-German Christian Standhardinger.
The Philippines is bracketed in Group B along with Iraq, Qatar and powerhouse China.
There are reports however that only 7 teams have signified their intentions to lend their players to the upcoming meet. The teams are Rain or Shine, TNT, Meralco, NLEX, Phoenix, Blackwater and Mahindra. Needless to say, all three SMC teams along with Alaska and GlobalPort seem not to keen on releasing their stars.
If its true then June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Allein Maliksi, Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo won’t be able to suit up for the country’s national basketball team.
Both Blatche and Standhardinger are listed as naturalized so only one of them will make it to the Final 12, which Reyes will announce on or before July 25. – Mae Villarin