THE Final 12 is almost complete for the Gilas Pilipinas team set for battle in the 2017 Seaba Championship from May 12 to 18 at the Araneta Coliseum.
According to Philippine Star’s Nelson Beltran, Gilas coach Chot Reyes already has in mind nine players who will easily made the cut and is only contemplating on the last three to complete the 12-man roster.
“It’s easy to decide on the first nine,” said Reyes on Wednesday as Beltran pointed to naturalized player Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Abueva, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Raymond Almazan and Allein Maliksi.
“The hard part is picking the players to complete the cast. It’s because all these players are dedicated,” he added before Gilas faced its first battle against the PBA All-Stars in Cagayan de Oro’s Xavier University Gym on Wednesday.
Reyes is using the first two All-Star games, in CDO on Wednesday then the Lucena game on Friday, to assess who will make the Final 12, which will debut on the third All-Star battle in Cebu on Sunday.
He will announce his choices on Friday.
For the last three slots, Reyes will pick from the remaining Gilas hopefuls like Matthew Wright, Jio Jalalon, Kevin Ferrer, RR Pogoy, Ed Daquioag, Bradwyn Guinto, Fonso Gotladera, Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, LA Revilla, Jonathan Grey, Mike Tolomia, Von Pessumal, Carl Bryan Cruz and Almond Vosotros.
Out of consideration due to injuries are fellow Gilas pool members Mac Belo, Art Dela Cruz and Russell Escoto.
Tolomia, Pogoy, Wright, Ferrer, Cruz, Torres, Gotladera, Pessumal, Revilla and Guinto joined shoo-ins Romeo and Fajardo in facing off the Mindanao All-Stars on Wednesday.
Daquioag, Grey, Vosotros, Van Opstal will make their case in Lucena, joining Wright, Guinto, Cruz, Ferrer, Tolomia and Torres along with sure bets Maliksi and Almazan in facing the Luzon All-Stars.
Fajardo and Romeo were set to play for the Visayas All-Stars but may have to switch sides with Reyes’ plan to field his final lineup in Cebu.