Barely 16 days to go before Gilas Pilipinas takes on powerhouse Australia on their home court in the 2nd window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier, 13 members of the national team showed up for the once a week, Monday evening practice at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.
No less the 4-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo led the cast composed of Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Carl Bryan Cruz.
Sophomores and former members of the Gilas cadets Jio Jalalon, Roger Pogoy and Matthew Wright were also present but remained in the sidelines.
Ricci Rivero, who wasn’t named to the original #23for23 pool due to a request from DLSU not to include their students so that they could focus on team building, was present and took part in the drills as well as nine others who were named to the training pool in preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup which will be simultaneously held here in Manila as well as in Japan and Indonesia.
Rivero just recently announced that he took a leave of absence from La Salle after the school implemented a new policy restricting players from entering into sponsorship deals with commercial entities.
The 20-year old sensation also clarified that he has no plans of transferring to another school and is in fact still attending classes.
Aside from Rivero, the other Cadets who attended practice were Paul Desiderio, J-Jay Alejandro, Javee Mocon, Arvin Tolentino, Ken Tuffin, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Kai Sotto, Will Gozum, and newcomer Carl Tamayo.