COACHES of the Batang Gilas squad said there will be no shoo-ins on the team for the 2018 Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup.
The Philippine youth squad clinched a seat in the World Cup after making it to the semifinal round of the recently-concluded Fiba Under-16 Asian Championship.
But Batang Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes said the members of the 12-man team led by Kai Sotto that played in the Asian championship still have to earn their spots for the roster of the squad bound for the World Cup in Argentina in June.
“That’s the ideal scenario,” said Reyes during a welcome dinner for the team on Tuesday, referring to the possibility of staying with the line-up for the World Cup. “Pero two and a half months, a lot of things can happen.”
“I will tell the boys, they still have to deserve their spot. You can’t go to Argentina attending just three practices and not deserve their spot. Each and everyone, from 1 to 12, they have to deserve their spot on the team.”
The Batang Gilas cagers arrived on Tuesday morning following a campaign in the Fiba Under-16 Asian Cup where the Philippines reached the semifinals after beating Japan thanks to the game-winning shot of RC Calimag.
The team ended in fourth place after losing to China and New Zealand in their next two matches.
Reyes said a pool will still be formed that will include the current 12 players who were part of the Fiba Under-16 Asian Championship.
“A pool still has to be formed but the ideal scenario is everyone will go to the World Cup. They deserve it. But you still have to deserve their spot,” said Reyes, one of the lieutenants of head coach Mike Oliver.