EIGHT members of the 12-man pool showed up as the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 team held its first meeting on Wednesday ahead of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Present at the Meralco gym in Ortigas were Columbian Dyip's CJ Perez, Terrence Romeo of San Miguel, Blackwater's Mac Belo, the Meralco duo of Chris Newsome and Baser Amer, Moala Tautuaa of NorthPort, Jason Perkins of Phoenix, and Chris Banchero of Alaska.
Not around were Magnolia's Ian Sangalang, Raymund Almazan of Meralco, TnT Katropa's Anthony Semerad, and NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick.
Head coach Ronnie Magsanoc will have Moriah Gingerich of University of the Philippines and veteran guard Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel Beer as his assistant coaches.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al S. Panlilio disclosed that Cabagnot volunteered his services in helping the team prepare for the 3x3 event, which will be making its debut in the SEA Games calendar.
"Alex volunteered to help out and we're thankful that he offered his services. He is willing to impart his basketball knowledge to help out the younger players," said Panlilio of Cabagnot.
Added Magsanoc, "He'll certainly help us with the preparation and motivation as well because we all know he is a winner."
The pool decided to defer practice and met as a group first, according to Magsanoc.
"We decided not to practice yet and instead have a meeting with the pool because there will be challenges, specifically with the schedule," explained the national coach. "We want to be fair to their mother teams as well in the PBA because they were kind enough to allow their players to join us."
The first order of the day for the coaching staff now is to trim the pool down to six or seven players to have more focus training sessions, with a decision hopefully to be made within the week.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us as some players need to adjust to the 3x3 brand of play," said Magsanoc, the SBP 3x3 program head.
"Because of the short turnaround, we'll base our decision on the lineup on who'll click as a team."
Nonetheless, Panlilio thanked the PBA for again leding its players to the 3x3 pool.
"We want to thank the PBA once again for making sure that the best talents were made available for this pool," said the SBP chief.
"We're very happy that the players we selected were also eager to participate. We're gunning for no less than a gold medal in the SEA Games and we know there's a lot of work ahead, but we're confident that we'll have the best team out there."
The first ever 3x3 tournament in the SEA Games will be held on Dec. 1-2 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.