GILAS coach Chot Reyes announced on Monday that Paul Lee and naturalized player Andray Blatche have made the Philippine team that will make its first appearance in the Fiba World Cup of Basketball in nearly four decades.
The six-foot Lee takes the place of Larry Fonacier, who begged off from the national pool because of lingering injuries, while Blatche bumped off longtime Gilas naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
The two will now become the only addition to the team that finished second to Iran in the last Fiba-Asia men's championship in Manila last year to punch a ticket to the Spain showpiece.
Reyes' decision means Lee and Blatche will play in both the Fiba World Cup and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, where the Philippines has a more realistic shot at at podium finish.
The only difference between the two teams is that veteran guard Jimmy Alapag, who is in the World Cup lineup, will be replaced by Meralco Fil-Am Jared Dillinger in the Asiad.
The holdovers in the World Cup team are Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Gary David, June Mar Fajardo and Alapag.
Lee's Rain or Shine teammate Beau Belga, GlobalPort's Jay Washington, and Douthit are the only players in the 16-man pool who will not be called up for the two tournaments.
Lee, a former University of the East star who became Rookie of the Year in the PBA in 2012, makes both teams after being among the late additions to Reyes' pool.
The Rain or Shine star, however, wasted no time staking his claim to a spot in the roster with his impressive performances in the Fiba Asia Cup last month and the games Gilas has played in the road to Spain.