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    Plenty of familiar faces in first window of Fiba World Cup qualifiers

    Nov 25, 2021
    PHOTO: fiba.basketball / spin.ph / Matthew Aquino Instagram

    GILAS Pilipinas may not be seeing action in the first window of the 2023 Fiba World Cup qualifiers, but it doesn't mean that Pinoy fans won't see familiar faces in the games set to be played worldwide starting this Thursday.

    Isaiah Thomas leads the pack as the two-time NBA All-Star will once again be the center of attention for Team USA in the Americas qualifiers.

    Other NBA studs in the pool games are current Golden State Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson for Mexico, as well as former players led by JJ Barea of Puerto Rico, Milos Teodosic of Serbia, and Hamed Haddadi of Iran.

    But the list isn't limited to NBA players.

    Former UAAP MVP and University of the Philippines center Bright Akhuetie has been named as a part of the pool for Nigeria, which will also be coached by former Red Bull import Julius Nwosu in the first sets of games in the African qualifiers.

    Matthew Aquino has also been included in the 24-man pool of Japan, a surprise call-up for the former Adamson and National University slotman and the son of PBA great Marlou Aquino who is now seeing action for the Shinshu Brave Warriors.


      Former La Salle guard Bader Malabes was once again included in the pool for Bahrain as it plays in Group D of the Asian qualifiers.

      PBA reinforcements are also aplenty in the World Cup qualifiers.

      Leading the pack is incoming Meralco import Tony Bishop, who will look to play first for Panama in its back-to-back games against Venezuela in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the Group A of the American qualifiers before heading to the Philippines for the 2021-22 PBA Governors' Cup.


      Former Columbian import Lester Prosper will also serve as the naturalized player for Indonesia, which will face Lebanon in a two-game series on Nov. 26 and 29.

      Christmas day

      Rakeem Christmas, who played for Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup, is also a part of the Virgin Islands pool in the Group C of the Americas qualifiers which will play the Dominican Republic in back-to-back games.

      Kristofer Acox, who also suited up for the Hotshots in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup, has been named as a part of the Iceland national team which is in Group H of the European qualifiers and will play the Netherlands and Russia in this first window.

      Mohammad Jamshidi (Iran) and Mahmoud Abdeen (Jordan), who both saw action in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup, will also spearhead their respective nations in the upcoming Asian qualifiers.

      Also, former Smart Gilas center CJ Giles will be in action, this time as the naturalized player for Bahrain.

      Even teammates of our Pinoys abroad, specifically those in the Japan B.League, will represent their countries in this window.


        Niigata Albirex BB top gun and Kobe Paras' teammate Rosco Allen will be playing for Hungary, while Shiga Lakestars center and Kiefer Ravena peer Ovie Soko will suit up for Great Britain in the European qualifiers.

        Tenketsu Harimoto, Yutaro Suda, and Takumi Saito, all of whom are Bobby Ray Parks' teammates at Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, are also part of the Akatsuki Five pool.

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        PHOTO: fiba.basketball / spin.ph / Matthew Aquino Instagram
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