By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team is yet to formalize its final playing roster for the upcoming 2023 Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China.
Despite a list revealed by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) confirmed by Abraham Tolentino two days ago, some of the players included in the temporary lineup begged off and will be heading to their respective mother franchises in the different overseas leagues.
In the case of Dwight Ramos, he already said that he will not be available for the upcoming Asian Games because of his commitment to the Japan B. League.
The same goes for veteran floor general Kiefer Ravena who is still under contract with the Shiga Lakestars and will join the team’s training camp after having a little break from the FIBA World Cup.
Meanwhile, Rhenz Abando, one of the most exciting young players who debuted for Gilas in the World Cup, will soon be heading back to Korea for the upcoming KBL pro league kick-off.
Right after the appointment of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s chief tactician Tim Cone as the team’s head coach for the Asian Games, the seasoned mentor said that they will be needing more players to commit to immediately start practice before flying to China.
Those who already accepted the challenge of representing the country are World Cup holdovers June Mar Fajardo, RR Pogoy, Scottie Thompson, and Japeth Aguilar.
Backstopping the squad are Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome, Ange Kouame, and Justin Brownlee of the Gin Kings.
Alfrancis Chua, Gilas’ team manager, also addressed their current pool woes and announced that they are still not done with the search for the missing pieces for the squad.
“Yung sinubmit nila na names before, mga iba dun, wala sa list e. Mag-rerequest pa kami kung papayag yung Asian Games. This is totally a different team. Mawawala yung mga naglalaro sa Japan at Korea, tapos wala si Clarkson. Totally diffirent ito,” said Chua.