By REYNALD MAGALLON
Japan B.League imports Dwight Ramos and brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena are set to join PBA players and collegiate stars in the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas confirmed the commitment of the three players who also saw action with the Gilas crew spearheaded by NBA star Jordan Clarkson and Adelaide big man Kai Sotto in the August window.
The three were part of the initial list of professional and amateur players Gilas has invited for its weekly practices starting Monday, Sept. 19, in preparation for the twin road games against Jordan and Saudi Arabia on November 10 and 13 respectively.
True to the commitment of the collegiate leagues to the national team, UAAP standouts Carl Tamayo of the University of the Philippines, Kevin Quiambao of La Salle and naturalized player Ange Kouame of Ateneo were also invited to the pool which will also feature PBA players from San Miguel, Ginebra and TNT.
The duo of San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, Ginebra trio of Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Arvin Tolentino, and Tropang Giga’s RR Pogoy and JP Erram are made available by the PBA to join the national team in hopes to sustain the impressive showing from the previous window and as part of Gilas head coach Chot Reyes’ deliberation on possible players who could be tapped for the FIBA World Cup pool next year.
PBA players who have been part of the Gilas pool in the past windows are also expected to join the Monday training sessions. Calvin Oftana, Jamie Malonzo, Kevin Alas and Chris Newsome were also invited along with Gilas players Will Navarro, Francis Lopez and Jordan Heading.
The Japan players though won’t be joining the training until Oct. 27 when the Japanese league takes its FIBA break.