This afternoon, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) released its official 24-man pool as they prepare for the upcoming first window of the FIBA Asia Qualifiers on February.
Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, Japeth Aguilar, Ray Parks Jr., Matthew Wright, Mac Belo, Poy Erram, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Christian Standhardinger were some of the PBA stalwarts that were added into a mix filled with some of the top young players in the country.
Standhardinger, of course, is expected to be the designated naturalized player for the national team.
They will be backstopped by the five PBA rookies who were drafted into the special Gilas selection last month namely Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, and Allyn Bulanadi while amateur standouts Jaybee Tungcab, Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar, and de Liano brothers are in the mix too.
Dwight Ramos, who is a Fil-Am guard, was included in the list after having a brief stint with Cal State Fullerton in the US. He will be the youngest player in the pool.
Curiously, the SBP did not include PBA five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo in the list despite representing the country in their last two World Cup stints. Marc Pingris, meanwhile, was given consideration despite his advancing age and will don the Gilas jersey anew since suffering from a horrific knee injury that sidelined him for more than a year.
All of these 24 players will have their chance to fight for a spot for Gilas. The national team will take on Thailand and Indonesia on February 20 and 23 to start the tournament.
SBP has yet to appoint their next head coach. However, they’ve indicated that they’ll name one on an interim basis soon.