By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Negrense basketball star Kib Montalbo is still on cloud nine after seeing his name in the final official roster of the 2022 Gilas Pilipinas squad that will represent the country in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
The former St. John’s Institute in Bacolod main gunner will be donning the white and blue jersey of the national team and will be a part of head coach Chot Reyes’ backcourt rotation together with Robert Bolick and Juan Gomez de Liaño.
Montalbo is coming off a breakout season when the TNT Tropang Giga clinched the 2021 All-Filipino Conference championship.
During the season, Montalbo averaged stellar numbers with 6.35 points, 1.26 assists, and 0.57 steals per game while also tasked to defend San Miguel Beermen’s Alex Cabagnot and Terrence Romeo during the semifinals and Magnolia Hotshots’ Paul Lee in the grand finals.
Known to be a pure combo scorer in his high school days, Montalbo re-shaped his artillery and became a defensive menace in his stint with the De La Salle Green Archers.
His defensive tenacity and leadership helped the green and white win two UAAP championships before getting drafted in the PBA.
Completing the final list of the Gilas roster are: Troy Rosario, Poy Erram, RR Pogoy, Kelly Williams, Gab Banal, Angelo Kouame, Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, LeBron Lopez, William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, de Liaño, and Bolick.
Montalbo will first see action with Gilas today when the national team takes on the towering Indian squad at 6 PM at the Big Dome Smart Araneta Coliseum.