MANILA – Gilas Pilipinas will be fielding in an almost all-pro lineup for FIBA World Cup Qualifiers fourth window game against Lebanon on Friday (Philippine Time).
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director and spokesman Sonny Barrios announced in a rare Monday afternoon edition of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that 12 play-for-pay cagers led by NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson and rising Australian NBL star Kai Sotto have been chosen to a 13-man team that will fly to Beirut for the Gilas-Lebanon game.
The other pros chosen were B.League's Ray-Ray Parks, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena PBA's Japeth Aguilar, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, and Scottie Thompson, and free agent Roosevelt Adams, who is also poised for a move to the B.League.
University of the Philippines' Carl Tamayo is the lone amateur chosen to the lineup.
Although Gilas will be missing the services of June Mar Fajardo as he focuses on the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, the national team will be enjoying tall wing and big man rotations as save for the six-foot Kiefer Ravena and six-foot-one Thompson, the rest of the roster is listed above six-feet-four inches.
Barrios said the lineup has been finalized on Sunday after receiving a copy of the roster from SBP president Al Panlilio, but the former PBA commissioner believes Coach Chot Reyes, Jong Uichico and Tim Cone have already made up their minds prior to Sunday.
"Presumably, the coaching staff deliberated and perhaps decided ahead of time," Barrios said.
An interesting inclusion is Aguilar, who only attended the Gilas training on Sunday following a Covid-19 scare among his household.
Aguilar eventually joined the Monday practice, the last for Gilas before the chosen players will depart for Beirut.
Gilas will leave at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday and will arrive in Beirut at 11:35 a.m. Lebanese Time (4:35 p.m. Philippine Time). (PNA)