By JONAS TERRADO
Many-time PBA MVP winner June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Matthew Wright and Kevin Alas were among the PBA cagers named to the 16-man pool of Gilas Pilipinas for the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday.
The four players along with Mo Tautuaa and Isaac Go are joined by Robert Bolick, RR Pogoy, Poy Erram, Troy Rosario and Kib Montalbo, holdovers from the previous window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in the list coach Chot Reyes announced after steering TNT to victory over NorthPort in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
B.League cagers Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos, Will Navarro, LeBron Lopez and Caelum Harris completed the pool for the biennial meet slated May 12 to 23 in the Vietnamese capital.
Gilas is again going with some of the PBA’s best players in a bid to continue the Philippines’ dominance in the SEA Games.
Fajardo, Aguilar, Wright and Rosario were members of Gilas that won the gold in the last SEAG edition held in 2019 before its home supporters at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Alas, on the other hand, makes his return not only to the Gilas pool, but also in the SEA Games, having been part of the winning Philippine squad in the 2013 Games held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Bolick, Erram, Pogoy join Rosario suited up in the recent qualifiers at the Smart Araneta Coliseum where Gilas split its two games against India and New Zealand.
Tautuaa is also back for the SEA Games, though this for the standard version after teaming up with CJ Perez, Chris Newsome and Jason Perkins to bag the men’s 3×3 gold in 2019.
Ramos and Ravena will be available for the SEAG since the B.League season will end in mid-April, Navarro and Lopez were also in the pool during the last qualifying window while Harris, a 16-year-old forward who stands at 6-foot-7, recently joined the Gilas program.
The pool was announced a day before the deadline for submission of entries by name set by Vietnam’s SEA Games Organizing Committee.