PH BASKETBALL TEAM. The Gilas Pilipinas team thanks its fans in Jeddah for showing up in the game against Saudi Arabia at the King Abdullah Sports City on Nov. 13, 2022. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced late Tuesday night (June 6, 2023) the 21-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the FIBA World Cup, with  Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee headlining the pool. (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

MANILA – The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) announced late Tuesday night the 21-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the FIBA World Cup.

Headlining the pool are Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee, who were stellar during the two previous World Cup Qualifiers windows.

Ange Kouame has also been called up, which means three players classified as "naturalized" will vie for that lone foreign player spot for Gilas.

Also called up were Dwight Ramos, Chris Newsome, brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, CJ Perez, Rhenz Abando, Jordan Heading, RR Pogoy, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, Carl Tamayo, Ray-Ray Parks, June Mar Fajardo, Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, and Calvin Oftana.

Sotto has been inserted into the pool despite his potential unavailability due to the NBA Summer League.

Gilas begins its training Wednesday night.

'Worth a try'

However, the SBP is expected to plead to FIBA to reclassify Brownlee as a local.

SBP vice president Ricky Vargas disclosed last month that they are planning to push for Brownlee to be credited as a local as he is now eligible for FIBA's special residency rule.

According to the rule, foreign players who have been living in the country they want to represent for a minimum of seven years can appeal to be classified as a local.

Brownlee has been Ginebra's resident import since 2016.

"It's worth a try. Bakit hindi (Why not)?" Vargas said.

If approved, Brownlee could team up with Clarkson without having to worry about which player coach Chot Reyes would choose as his naturalized reinforcement.

"You have a beautiful scenario when you have both," Vargas said. (PNA)