June Mar Fajardo joins grind as Abu Tratter shows up for first time in Gilas practice
June Mar Fajardo shows up for the first time in Gilas practice this year. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas continued its buildup for the Fiba World Cup qualifiers even with a handful of players and its head coach missing on Monday night.

After 25 players attended last week for their first training session of the year, only 13 standouts showed up at the Meralco gym, although some mainstays were present for the first time.

June Mar Fajardo attended his first practice as he led the pool that's preparing for the second window of the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup next month.

The four-time reigning PBA MVP joined Kevin Alas, Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Carl Bryan Cruz, Gabe Norwood, Allein Maliksi, Japeth Aguilar, and Matthew Wright.

Roger Pogoy was also in attendance but was just on the sidelines as a spectator.

La Salle big man Abu Tratter also showed up for the first time, but only CJ Perez was the other player in the 23-man pool for the 2023 World Cup who came after 13 young standouts showed up last week.

The present and future pool of Nationals trained without coach Chot Reyes as top deputy Jong Uichico called the shots with PBA OIC Willie Marcial also watching.

Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan were absent for the second straight week, while Jayson Castro and Mac Belo were also missing in action after attending last week.

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