Sunday, May 18, 2014

Three more pros for Gilas Pilipinas pool?

There’s a strong possibility that three more PBA players may be included in the 24-man Gilas pool being assembled for submission to FIBA as a requirement for accreditation to play in the World Cup in Spain on Aug. 30-Sept. 14.
The deadline for submission of the 24-man lineup is June 30. Only players from the 24-man list may be picked to comprise the 12-man roster to be submitted to FIBA by the second deadline sometime in July. Changes to the 12-man cast may be made during the team managers’ meeting the day before the start of the competition but switches are subject to approval of the organizing committee with a penalty fee of $3,200 for every player. Replacements may come only from the original 24-man lineup.

Gilas team manager Aboy Castro said yesterday the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, on July 11-19 has its own deadlines of submission of lineups. The 24-man list must be submitted by June 11 and the 12-man cast by July 2. The winner of the FIBA Asia Cup will gain an automatic ticket to the FIBA Asia Championships, the regional Olympic qualifiers, in 2015.

The FIBA Asia Cup will bring in 10 countries, including defending champion Iran. There will be two countries from West Asia, two from Southeast Asia, one from South Asia, one from the Gulf, three from East Asia and one from Central Asia. At the last FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo two years ago, the Philippines was the only entry from Southeast Asia. Other countries that competed were Uzbekistan from Central Asia, India from South Asia, Iran and Lebanon from West Asia, Qatar from the Gulf and host Japan, China, Chinese Taipei and Macau from East Asia. The top five finishers were Iran, Japan, Qatar, the Philippines and China.

Gilas coach Chot Reyes said he’s seriously considering to include PBA players Jay Washington of Globalport and Talk ‘N’ Text standouts Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes in the pool for the FIBA Asia Cup and FIBA World Cup. Washington, in fact, was included in the 19-man lineup that the SBP submitted to the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission task force for early notice to the Asian Games organizing committee last April 30. Gilas is also competing at the Asian Games in Incheon on Sept. 19-Oct. 4.

Two naturalized players will be listed in the 24-man lineup for the FIBA Asia Cup and the FIBA World Cup, Marcus Douthit and Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche. There is no restriction as to the number of naturalized players in the 24-man pool. However, only one naturalized player may be in the final 12-man cast.

The tentative 24-man lineup is made up of Douthit, Blatche, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Marc Pingris, Gary David, JuneMar Fajardo, L. A. Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Beau Belga, Paul Lee, Jared Dillinger, Washington, Williams, Reyes and cadet players Garvo Lanete, Matt Ganuelas, Jake Pascual, Ronald Pascual and Kevin Alas.

Reyes said with the PBA season expected to end July 9, there will hardly be a rest period for the pros particularly those involved in the Governors Cup Finals. It is likely that the Gilas players in the third conference Finals will be excused from participating in the FIBA Asia Cup which starts July 11.

“We appreciate what the PBA is doing to speed up the season so that we can begin to practice with a full lineup for the FIBA World Cup,” said Reyes. The Governors Cup will start hostilities on Tuesday and games will be played nearly every day of the week, except Thursday. The downside is some players may be burned out by the time the season ends and full Gilas practices begin.

“We’ve had seven or eight practices with Gilas,” said Reyes. “Last Monday, we were far from complete because five players are involved in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals although Ping showed up. L. A. couldn’t practice because of an injury. It’s been difficult to get everyone to practice.”

Reyes said Blatche’s entry has been explained to Douthit. “Marcus knew from Day 1, there’s a possibility that Andray will play for us,” said Reyes. “We’re all excited about Andray playing. Just imagine the impact of an NBA player doing well in the playoffs right now with our team in Spain. Marcus is prepared for whatever eventuality. He’ll be ready to play if it’s necessary.”


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