By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) already released the list of names who will enter the practice bubble in Calamba, Laguna. The players will undergo intensive training as they prepare to represent the country in the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
Familiar faces were retained while most of the players are the young and emerging future prospects with the likes of RJ Abarrientos, Carl Tamayo, Lebron Lopez, and Kyle Ong included in the lineup.
Gilas Pilipinas first-timers also include Gian Mamuyac, Jason Credo, Joshua Lazaro, Troy Malilin, Geo Chiu, and SJ Belangel.
“We have to prepare for the FIBA window and OQT in June. As it stands right now, the rosters will be selected without PBA players. So we obviously need to work with the players available,” said Gilas program director Tab Baldwin.
The 2021 special Gilas draft class during the PBA Rookie selection will also be present in the pool: Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.
Gilas mainstays who will lead the pack are Dave Ildefonso, Dwight Ramos, Justine Baltazar, Chris Koon, and Ange Kouame.
Sniper Juan Gomez de Liaño will be out for the team due to injuries as are Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, the Nieto twins, and Allyn Bulanadi.