Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo head talent-laden 17-man Batang Gilas pool for Under-17 World Cup
Kai Sotto heads the 17 players named to the Batang Gilas pool ahead of the Fiba Under-17 World Cup in Santa Fe, Argentina. Dante Peralta

A TOTAL of 17 players make up the Batang Gilas pool for the 2018 Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup set on June 30 to July 8 in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina.

Team manager Andrew Teh said 12 of the members were part of the Batang Gilas team that played in the 2018 Fiba Under-16 Asian Championship, namely Kai Sotto, Raven Cortez, Forthsky Padrigao, RC Calimag, Terrence Fortea, Joshua Lazaro, Geo Chiu, Yukien Andrada, Mac Guadana, Juric Bautista, King Balaga, and Rafael Go.

Added to the list, Teh said, are National University standouts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano, Migs Pascual of De La Salle-Zobel, Kean Baclaan of San Sebastian, and Bismark Lina of University of Santo Tomas.

Tamayo is actually part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup along with Sotto. They are currently playing for the cadets side in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup.

Teh said the team has been practicing regularly and playing tune-up matches as of late before they name the final 12 prior to the team's departure for Argentina on June 21.

“Coach Mike Oliver and coach Josh Reyes are really trying very hard to inculcate the dribble drive system sa mga bata. Slowly, we are getting there,” said Teh.

Teh added NU coach Goldwin Monteverde is now part of the coaching staff of Batang Gilas for the world tournament.

The Philippines is bracketed in Group D with Croatia, France, and host Argentina in the Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup. The Batang Gilas qualified after reaching the semifinals of the Fiba Under-16 Asian Championship.

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