By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) just released Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team’s official 21-man pool for the upcoming FIBA World Cup tournament.
SBP unveiled its roster last June 6, 2023, via a digital poster updated on its official Facebook account.
Headlining the 21-best Filipino hoopers who will showcase their talent starting August 25, 2023, is former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson already suited up for the national team during the previous FIBA qualifying windows and immediately made an impact after leading the squad in offensive rating.
Also making themselves available for the prestigious basketball tournament are naturalized talents Justin Brownlee of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) standout Ange Kouame.
Brownlee, the latest naturalized player of the country, recently led Gilas to a gold medal redemption during the Southeast Asian Games while Kouame is still on his road to recovery after undergoing surgery last year.
Making their return to the national team are AJ Edu and Kai Sotto, the towering frontcourt duo who recently said that they will be ready whenever they will be tapped to be a part of the Gilas pool.
Former NCAA Rookie Most Valuable Player (MVP) Rhenz Abando also made the list and is coming off a stellar international hoops experience in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena will also be making a comeback to Gilas as well as other Japan B. League Asian imports Dwight Ramos, Carl Tamayo, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and Jordan Heading.
Completing the 21-man pool of Gilas are Chris Newsome, CJ Perez, RR Pogoy, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, and Calvin Oftana.