AFTER the high of Gilas Pilipinas' dramatic win over South Korea on Wednesday night in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, three players get a piece of the limelight in the national team's next assignment against Indonesia.
Jordan Heading, Lebron Lopez, and Geo Chiu take their spots in the Gilas lineup on Thursday, replacing Javi Gomez De Llano, Jaydee Tungcab, and Mike Nieto as the hosts go for a second win inside the Clark bubble.
Coach Tab Baldwin said Heading's case was the easiest to decide in the final cut for the game against Korea since he was nursing a hip injury sustained last week while in the bubble training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.
As Heading makes his Gilas debut, Baldwin is also set to unleash another teen prodigy in Lopez who is easily the most athletic player in the youth-laden roster.
"Lebron of course is a young kid. His learning curve is the sharpest and the steepest. We think the Indonesian game is the better game to start his international career than the South Korean game," said the American-New Zealander.
As for Chui, Baldwin said the decision to sit him was more about the balance of the team agains the Sokors, who Gilas defeated, 81-78, on SJ Belangel's game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
"Whether we go with six big men and six guards, or seven and five, seven guards and five big men. It's just balancing the lineup for the Korean game," said Baldwin.
"Gio will play in the next game and will go with the combination of six bigs and six guards and will have a bigger lineup," added the Gilas mentor. "We'll make a tactical adjustments with them in that lineup."