A new age has dawned for the Gilas Pilipinas program.
Now in a rebuilding mode, former UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Asean Basketball League MVP Matthew Wright, along with top collegiate standouts Kiefer Ravena and Mac Belo were named to the 24-man pool submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for the FIBA Asia Challenge Cup this September.
The shortlist surprisingly included TNT sophomore forward Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, and Blackwater’s young duo of rookie playmaker Almond Vosotros and big man JP Erram to backstop the Fil-Am duo of Parks and Wright in the Iran meet.
Aside from Ravena and Belo, the Gilas young core of Russel Escoto, Mike Tolomia, Kevin Ferrer, Jio Jalalon, Von Pessumal and Roger Pogoy also made it to the 24-man list, though they are considered “shoo-ins” for the Iran meet.
PBA D-League veterans Mon Abundo, Yutien Andrada and Chris Javier also crashed into the initial list that will be trimmed down late this month.
Completing the cast are former Far Eastern University stalwart Carl Bryan Cruz, Ed University of Santo Tomas’ Ed Daquiaog, Alfonzo Gotladera and Jonathan Grey along with CJ Perez, Arvin Tolentino, Arnold Van Opstal and Kemark Carino.
Longtime Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes has been tasked to handle the untested squad against powerhouse Asian rivals like host Iran and China. – Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH