SHORTLY after the last of two friendlies against the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday night, coach Yeng Guiao announced the 12 players who will represent Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup which kicks off on Sunday in eight cities in China.
Actually, there were no surprises in the final composition of the team, with Guiao admitting that were circumstances that played into the decision making, like injuries to players.
The final 12: Andre Blatche. June Mar Fajardo, Robert Bolick, CJ Perez, Paul Lee. Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy, Gabe Norwood, Raymund Almazan, Mark Barroca and the recently reinstated Kiefer Ravena.
The official team roster was announced by coach Yeng Guiao shortly after Gilas’ second tune-up game against the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday night at the Meralco gym.
Left out of the team that will depart for Foshan, China on Thursday are injured players Matthew Wright and Poy Erram along with big man Beau Belga.
“Mahirap. Ilang araw na naming pinag-uusapan yan. Of course there were circumtances that also played into the decision making,” said coach Guiao of his chosen 12.
The lineup was first presented to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and president Al Panlilio as a courtesy before the announcement was made.
According to Guiao, the fight for the 12th and final spot went down to a choice between Mark Barroca and Wright. The injury to Wright made the choice easier to make.
The injury to Erram also left an opening for Almazan in the lineup that will battle Italy, Serbia and Angola in the group stage of the World Cup.
“These are the 12 gallant men who will fight for flag and country in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China, but they would not have gotten this opportunity if it were not for the sacrifices of all the players, coaches, and staff that helped along the way throughout the FIBA Asian Qualifiers,” said Panlilio in a statement.
“This is your Gilas Pilipinas and they’ll do their best to represent the 100 million Filipinos and promote the Philippine brand of basketball on the world stage.”