Twelve more players from the PBA ranks will be added to the Gilas Pilipinas national team pool from where coach Chot Reyes will pick to form his squad for various international tournaments including qualifying events for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
The national team pool, has already named 12 from the Cadet who are currently playing in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.
The announcement is scheduled tomorrow in the PBA.
The addition of 12 more player will give Reyes extra depth and more players to choose from depending on the tournament Gilas will see action, particularly the FIBA Asia Cup starting this year.
The said event, which is a series of tournaments, serves as qualifying meet for countries that belong to FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania for the World Cup in 2019 in China.
One of the players said to be a shoo-in for a place in the national team pool is reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, who has played a few times for Gilas.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo first suited up for the national team in 2013 under Reyes when Gilas bagged the silver medal during the Asian Championship here in Manila, which earned the Philippines – for the first time in 40 years – a spot in the 2014 World Cup in Spain.
“How can you not include a June Mar Fajardo in the national team,” said a source, who requested anonymity.
“June Mar is our top player, he’s the top player in the PBA and he’ll be the centerpiece of our national team in the years to come. It’s going to be interesting with June Mar leading the team,” added the source.
Each team will nominate a player to the Gilas pool to join the 12 from the Cadet ranks that were already named initially by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
The players from the Cadet, led by Blackwater forward Mac Belo, Rain or Shine’s Mike Tolomia, Star’s Jio Jalalon and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Kevin Ferrer, are now playing in the PBA after it signed a deal with the PBA that allowed them to see action in the pro league.
Another source said it’s possible for Reyes to ask for additional players from a team, especially if there is a need, and it is up to the franchise to decide if it would grant the request.
For instance, there were reports that Jayson Castro is being eyed but the TNT Katropa guard has already announced his retirement from international events after his last tournament in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Aside from Castro, another possible candidate from TNT is Troy Rosario.
When are we going to join the Olympics bandwagon? When are we going to conquer the FIBA-Asia? May I justify my 1-peso observation? For so many years since the influx of our Westernized Asian rivals, we had been crouching for strategies and programs – hence, Asian crown now became just a far-fetched dream. What is lacking? Filipino players are literally mindset to be offense-oriented. But as for me, we need direly for a “natural center”!! Look, we have infused “naturalized players” particularly to man the paint BUT we fell short of an Olympics stint almost half-a-century ago. Haddadi has proven my hypothesis. Douthit is now too slow to wrestle against the young beanpoles of rivals. Blatche is not a natural center, abandoning his center post most often. He is more of a power forward like Durant or Anthony. JuneMar is neither a natural center by definition. But his offense efficiency underneath is longed for. Gilas will be a powerhouse team if a natural center is acquired! We need somebody with a brawler like NDIAYE whose stint with Mighty Sports produced an average of 15boards + 5 blocks a game. He can compete against DeAndre Jordan or Damarcus Cousins, especially against RP tormentor Haddadi! That’s my point-of-view, Folks.
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