HIGH school standout Lebron Lopez banners the new faces invited to the Gilas Pilipinas training camp as the all-cadets national team prepared to once again start training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba on Monday.
The 6-foot-5 forward is one of 11 new faces in the pool which Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director Tab Baldwin enlisted mainly from Ateneo to beef up the current Gilas cadets pool, sources said.
Aside from Lopez, other Blue Eagles entering the Calambubble, according to SPIN.ph sources, were SJ Belangel, Gian Mamuyac, Forthsky Padrigao, Josh Lazaro, Geo Chiu, Troy Mallillin, Jason Credo, and Kyle Ong.
Baldwin confirmed that the Gilas pool has entered the Calambubble on Monday and has undergone RT-PCR tests before starting training for three tournaments, beginning with the June window of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark.
"We entered the bubble today and are now undergoing our testing and quarantine protocols," the former Gilas coach said. "We will resume as soon as we have cleared all of the health requirements."
University of the Philippines commit Carl Tamayo and incoming Far Eastern University gunner RJ Abarrientos are the other new recruits for the said trainings.
Prospective naturalized player Ange Kouame is also on board, as well as holdovers Dwight Ramos, Dave Ildefonso, and Chris Koon, who served as a practice player in the buildup for the November window of the Fiba Asia qualifiers.
Tzaddy Rangel, who was one of the four new players drafted through the special Gilas round of the PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft, is also set to enter the bubble.
The SBP and the PBA have decided to field an all-cadets team to the upcoming three international tournaments, namely the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in June set in Clark, the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade come July, and the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup in Indonesia in August.
Set to join the pool are current Gilas pool members Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto, as well as new additions William Navarro, Jordan Heading, and Jaydee Tungcab.
"Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto and Rey Suerte will also enter the bubble once they have completed their health protocols.," Baldwin said.
Allyn Bulanadi is still recovering from a fractured shoulder which he incurred last October.