ETHAN Kirkness will not be able to join the Philippine team in the 2017 Seaba Under-16 Championship, but is a candidate for the Batang Gilas side to the Fiba Asia Under-16 Championship.
National head coach Mike Oliver explained the 6-foot-9 Fil-Aussie was recruited to play for a school in the US and had to shelve plans to play for Batang Gilas in the Seaba tournament in Manila.
“Si Kirkness, ang alam ko, kinuha siya sa United States ng isang school. He opted na pumunta dun,” said Oliver of the 14-year-old, Australia-based prospect on Monday.
Another foreign-based prospect, Fil-Nigerian AJ Edu, is ineligible to play for the Seaba U-16 as he is already beyond the age limit, but is being eyed to join the Batang Gilas U-18 squad.
“Edu is not eligible for Under-16. For Under-18 siya,” Oliver said.
With Kirkness and Edu out of the lineup, Batang Gilas will have to rely on Kai Sotto, Shaun Geoffrey Chiu, and Raven Cortez to man the paint for the Seaba tournament.
Oliver, however, hopes Kirkness will be available for Batang Gilas if it hurdles the Seaba tournament and earns a spot in the Fiba Asia U16 tilt in a date and venue still to be determined.
“If ever mas gumaling pa siya, baka sa Fiba Asia, mag-commit na siya. Anyway, he has a Philippine passport,” said Oliver. “For now, wala muna (sa Seaba), pero definitely, may potential sa Fiba Asia.”