By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Several national team staple faces and UAAP superstars made sure to fulfill their role as members of Gilas Pilipinas after another Monday training session together with head coach Chot Reyes.
With only a month left before the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) already vowed to bounce back after a series of unfortunate events during the past months.
Leading the team practice is PBA’s only six-time Most Valuable Player, June Mar Fajardo of the San Miguel Beermen together with 16 others in attendance.
Also there to grace the weekly national team practice is Fajardo’s teammate in San Miguel and a former Gilas revelation during the previous edition of the World Cup, CJ Perez.
Fajardo and Perez were joined by TNT Tropang Giga’s Roger Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Calvin Oftana while injured Meralco shooting guard Chris Newsome also came into the venue.
After a hard-earned win during their last game, Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and newly acquired swingman Jamie Malonzo were also present.
“We have specific things that we want to achieve. So today, we wanted to achieve a couple of things done and they went hard right away. These guys are in shape, but more importantly, get the opportunity of playing together,” said coach Reyes.
Meanwhile, collegiate superstars in the UAAP also rushed heading into the Gilas team practice after their respective training with their schools.
UP Fighting Maroons’ Carl Tamayo, DLSU Green Archers’ Kevin Quiambao, and ADMU Blue Eagles’ Ange Kouame were all in the building despite commitments to their universities.
Completing the pool of players present at the Meralco gym were William Navarro, Arvin Tolentino, and Lebron Lopez.
Gilas Pilipinas will be flying to the Middle East for their first scheduled game against Jordan on November 7 followed by a rematch against Saudi Arabia on November 10.