By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will bring in the most requested professional players for the upcoming fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Through an agreement together with the management of the San Miguel Beermen, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, and the TNT Tropang Giga, the SBP and its coaching staff headed by Chot Reyes will be selecting a bulk of their roster from the PBA for the November window.
Headlining the list of their desired players for the pool are six-time Most Valuable Player from SMB, June Mar Fajardo, reigning MVP Scottie Thompson of Ginebra, and Fajardo’s co-star teammate in SMB, CJ Perez.
Thompson already pledged his services to the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team during the past FIBA window where he had the chance to team up with former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson.
The Clarkson-led Gilas team finished the August window with a 1-1 record, losing its first game away from home against Lebanon and bounced back convincingly against Saudi Arabia.
Fajardo, one of the most dominant Filipino players in the PBA, last saw action wearing the Gilas jersey during the SEA Games where they settled for the silver medal.
Meanwhile, Perez, an explosive versatile scorer and the future face of the SMB franchise, once proved his worth on the international stage last 2019 when he led Gilas during the FIBA World Cup.
The young and aggressive Perez paired with Robert Bolick of the NorthPort Batang Pier during the 2019 FIBA World Cup and led the national team in scoring despite a disappointing result.
Also eyed by SBP to reinforce Gilas this coming November are Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar & Arvin Tolentino as well as TNT’s RR Pogoy and Poy Erram.
Completing Gilas’ final playing pool for the fifth window are the available Filipino players currently playing in the Japan B. League and collegiate standouts from the NCAA and the UAAP.