By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team will have the luxury to add more players to their current active pool for the upcoming international tournaments after a piece of good news from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
After NorthPort Batang Pier swingman Jamie Malonzo was cleared by FIBA to play as a local effective in the next tournaments, the basketball organization also added point guard Maverick Ahanmisi, Roosevelt Adams, and Meralo Bolts’ superstar Chris Newsome to the list.
Ahanmisi, a former main orchestrator in the Alaska Aces and the current guard of the Converge FiberXers, was able to pass a ‘special’ document to FIBA regarding his playing status who once represented the Philippines during the 2018 Asian Games.
Meanwhile, Adams, a former lottery pick by the Terrafirma Dyip standing at six-foot-five, successfully met a crucial requirement by FIBA – having managed to obtain his Philippine passport at the age of nine years.
Newsome’s case was also the same as Adams as the savvy shooting guard got his Philippine passport when he was 16 years old.
The current Meralco stalwart spent most of his basketball career here in the Philippines after playing in the UAAP with the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles and entered the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Now with Malonzo, Ahanmisi, Adams, and Newsome available for the next Gilas player pool selection, head coach Chot Reyes and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will have more options in preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Gilas will kick off its World Cup qualifiers on August 26 against Lebanon and will take on Saudi Arabia on August 30.
The national team will have the chance to redeem themselves after a silver-medal finish during the Southeast Asian Games while missing the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Cup for the first time in 15 years.