WILL Gilas Pilipinas keep the same 12-man lineup or tweak its roster for its game against Saudi Arabia on Monday in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifiers?
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al S. Panlilio said everything depends on the decision of the coaching staff on whether a change in the national team lineup is a must when it hosts the Saudis at the Mall of Asia Arena for the last of its two-game schedule for the August window.
“Chot might keep the same 12,” said Panlilio. “But I don’t know. It’s the coaches’ call on Monday.”
As per the SBP, players who suited up for the national team in the game against Lebanon can be replaced by those initially included in the 24-man training pool.
“They can get from the 24 kung gugustuhin ng coaching staff,” said SBP executive director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios.
Even Roosevelt Adams, who was the final cut out of the 13 players who travelled to Zouk Mikael can be inserted for the Saudi Arabia game scheduled at 7 p.m.
“Roosevelt is there to gain experience, for the coaches to see him how he can play with the team,” added Panlilio. “Whether he’s given the chance to play against Saudi is up to the coaches.”
Kevin Alas, Raymond Almazan, Francis Lopez, Arvin Tolentino, and Kevin Quiambao were among the part of the 24-man pool who showed up during the one week training the national team had at the Meralco gym.
Guard Jio Jalalon also twice attended practice but was in street clothes as he’s currently recovering from a hamstring injury.
Bannered by Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson and young big man Kai Sotto, Gilas went toe-to-toe with FIBA Asia Cup runner-up Lebanon but couldn’t execute down the stretch and suffered a tough 85-81 loss.
The Filipinos, now 2-3 in Group E, arrived in the country early Saturday morning and then practiced in the evening.
Aside from Clarkson and Sotto, others who completed the 12-man roster in Lebanon include Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Jamie Malonzo, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, and Carl Tamayo.
The final lineup for the Saudi game will be submitted on Sunday night.