Gilas Pilipinas is officially back in the Asian Games.
Nearly two weeks after controversially withdrawing its participation in the Asiad, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) formally said on Sunday night that it will send a squad to Jakarta for the quadrennial meet.
As expected, the key players of Rain Or Shine will make up the bulk of the national team lineup to be coached by current NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao. Caloy Garcia, ROS’ chief gaffer, will serve as Guiao’s associate.
“Kasama po rito si Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga, at si Raymond Almazan,” Guiao announced the Elasto Painters’ core that will play in the Asiad.
They will be joined by Asi Taulava, one of Guiao’s players at NLEX, Magnolia’s Paul Lee, San Miguel’s Chris Standhardinger, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, Blackwater’s Poy Erram, TNT’s Don Trollano, and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.
While Guiao announced a 14-man pool during a press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City prior to Game 5 of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals between Ginebra & San Miguel, he added, “We will cut that down to 12 before we leave.”
Daily practices, according to Guiao, will begin on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City and will go full throttle when the team heads to the Indonesian capital on Aug. 14.
Philippine Olympic Committee president and Philippine Basketball Association board chairman Ricky Vargas assured, “Hindi lang [ito] team but it’s going to be a competitive team. We promise our basketball fans that we’re not only sending a team but we’re also sending a team that they will be proud of.” (PNA)
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