SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan urged the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff to already plan its team formation for the 2023 Fiba World Cup as early as now.
With the country set to co-host the basketball showpiece with Japan and Indonesia six years from now, the top sports patron is hoping the coaching staff, led by Chot Reyes, would put in extra effort in assembling a squad that can stand toe to toe against the world’s best teams.
Pangilinan rattled off the names of current young pool members Kiefer Ravena and Roger Pogoy, even going as far as mentioning college standouts Thirdy Ravena and Ricci Rivero as the possible members of the 2023 squad.
“The players who are likely to compose the 2023 team are not the Jayson Castros, the current players you’re seeing,” Pangilinan said on Thursday. “I think the players must be probably between 26 and 32. So people like Pogoy, Kiefer, Thirdy Ravena, Ricci Rivero.”
“These are the guys, the future players who will constitute the team,” he added. “We have to start training them now.”
Reyes is heeding to Pangilinan’s call, but acknowledged the tedious task ahead as he asked the PBA and the college leagues to cooperate and be in sync with their preparations.
“It’s going to be a difficult task, so we have to seek as well the assistance of all the stakeholders in basketball, not only the PBA, the commercial leagues, but the UAAP, the college leagues,” the Gilas coach said. “We will need to plan a calendar now pa lang and now wait until 2021 or 2022.
“As we develop the players, we develop as well the conditions to make the team at its strongest in 2023,” he added.
Reyes agreed with Pangilinan on the age range of the players who will be on the 2023 team, but is also open to young standouts who are good enough to make the seniors’ team. Pangilinan feels Kai Sotto, who will be 21 by then, but already stands over 7 feet now, is still young to crack the 2023 roster.
“Who they are, we still have to sit down with the coaches and identify players,” Reyes said. “Like chairman MVP said, it’s most likely the players are between 26 and 32 years old in 2023, because they are the ones who are going to be at their peak.”
“But we’re not discounting an exceptional 22 or 23-year-old, pero most probably it’s within that age range,” he added.
SBP president Al Panlilio is also hoping current stalwart and four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who will be 33 by then, is still at the prime of his career in 2023.
“Maybe June Mar is still at his peak at that time, Pogoy, Kiefer, Ricci Rivero, Thirdy Ravena, Slaughter,” Panlilio said. “Japeth siguro pwede pa yan. It’s up to Chot to really come up with a pool.”