PBA commissioner Willie Marcial affirmed that Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes will likely hand-select additional players from the league for the upcoming 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“Kakausap ko lang kay Coach Chot. Mamimili pa siya, eh. Marami pa siyang kukuhanin na mga players,” Marcial said on Sunday.
The news comes just days after former University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon Carl Tamayo withdrew from Gilas’ 21-man training pool due to an injury.
“Sabi ko naman, available naman ang PBA. Sabihan mo lang kami, para masabihan namin ang ‘yung team. Wala pa siyang eksakto kung sino ang kukuhanin,” he added.
National teams qualified for the World Cup are permitted to include as many players as feasible on their rosters prior to the competition.
Iran and Montenegro respectively appointed 27 and 24 players to their World Cup squads, while Australia, China, and Germany each named 18 players.
The final 12-man rosters will then be confirmed in a technical meeting prior to the start of the World Cup.
In the current Gilas pool are Rhenz Abando, Japeth Aguilar, Justin Brownlee, Jordan Clarkson, AJ Edu, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, Jordan Heading, Ange Kouame, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., CJ Perez, Roger Ray Pogoy, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Kai Sotto, and Scottie Thompson.
Saturday marked the first day of the team’s Inspire Sports Academy training camp. Abando, Aguilar, Edu, Erram, Fajardo, Kouame, Malonzo, Perez, the Ravenas, and Thompson were present.
In May of last year, Reyes stated that Gilas has “all the players at [their] disposal,” but now that the roster is down to 20 players, the seasoned coach is leaving nothing to chance.
Reyes reaffirmed that there will be no automatic selections for the World Cup roster, and that everyone must earn a place.
“Right now, it’s still a long way, there’s going to be a lot of trainings still to be done, and then we will make our final determination when the time comes,” said Reyes.
Gilas will travel to Europe to face the national teams of Estonia and Finland in tune-up games, while also seeking additional exhibitions in Lithuania.
The Philippines will begin Group A play against the Dominican Republic on August 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, before facing Angola and European powerhouse Italy at the Araneta Coliseum on August 27 and 29, respectively.