Gilas 5.0 to play without naturalized player Andray Blatche in Fiba Asia Challenge Cup
Gilas naturalized player Andray Blatche is bidding for an NBA comeback, says newly elected SBP president Al Panlilio. Jaime Campos

FOR the first time in a long while, Gilas Pilipinas will nbe playing in an international meet without the benefit of a naturalized player.

Time constraint forces the national team to do away with the help of a naturalized player in its coming campaign in the FIBA Asia Challenge Cup in Tehran, Iran next month.

Newly-elected Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said Gilas will have to make do with the current roster training under coach Josh Reyes and composed mostly of the country’s top amateur standout in its bid in the Sept. 9-18 meet, where the top five finishers get an extra berth for their respective subzones in the Fiba Asia Cup or formerly known as FIBA Asia Championship.

“We might be sending an all-Filipino team at this point,” said Panlilio, adding Gilas naturalized big man Andray Blatche is busy trying to make it back to the NBA.

[See Panlilio bares SBP, PBA plan to hold special draft for Gilas 5.0 cadets]

Panlilio also isn’t sure if the team can still accommodate on its schedule possibly a quick training abroad as part of its preparation.

So far, according to the SBP prexy, he has yet to get any notice from team manager Butch Antonio about Gilas going out of the country before the tournament.

“I have to ask Butch if that is the part of the planning program now. He hasn’t proposed any foreign trip yet kasi may funding requirement yan. So hihingi na yan kung meron,” said Panlilio

“Pero wala pa siyang sinasabi.”

Although comprise of cadet players, the SBP president would rather refer to the team as Gilas 5.0, since most of them would eventually make it as part of the official Gilas roster

“I don’t want to use the word cadet, kasi cadet is parang lower.. so it’s Gilas 5.0,” he stressed.


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