SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director Tab Baldwin said the arrival of Kai Sotto and Dwight Ramos will be the only changes to the Gilas Pilipinas pool as it resumes training at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
"We are just waiting for Kai and Dwight to arrive from the US. There are no other plans for the pool," he said on Monday, brushing off talk on the players left out of the 20-man pool for the Olympic qualifiers and final Fiba Asia Cup window.
Ramos is set to return to the country to join the rest of the national team pool while the SBP continues to make arrangements with Sotto's handlers at East West Private to be able to bring the 7-foot-3 teen back home in time for the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark from June 16 to 20.
The former Gilas coach said he'd rather focus on his current pool as talk heated up once again on high-profile players who weren't invited to the bubble training, among them UP Maroons star Juan Gomez de Liano.
Gomez de Liano's name is the most notable absence from the invitees, especially after his stellar showing in the first three games of the qualifiers.
The 5-foot-11 court general has posted 12.0 points on 47-percent shooting, to go with 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 15.4 minutes in the series of qualifying games for the continental tilt, set in August in Indonesia.
"We’re keeping the discussion about the pool of players here," said Baldwin. "Many players were left out as we trim the numbers down. We want to focus on who we have here and are working to develop into a team."
Aside from Gomez de Liano, other omissions from the pool which joined the training last March include Ateneo players like Chris Koon, Gian Mamuyac, Josh Lazaro, and Troy Mallillin, Kyle Ong.
Kobe Paras, now training in the US after signingwith East West Private, and Calvin Oftana, who was picked third by NLEX in the PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft, were among those players from the November window who did not get a call back.
Thirdy Ravena, who played in the first qualifying game against Indonesia in February 2020, is still wrapping his first season in the Japanese B.League with San-En NeoPhoenix.
Meanwhile, Allyn Bulanadi remains a part of the Gilas pool, although he's still recovering from a dislocated left shoulder and was not invited to join the bubble.
Only 20 players were brought in for the bubble training, led by Gilas draftees Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, twins Matt and Mike Nieto, Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.
Completing the list are Ramos, Justine Baltazar, Javi Gomez de Liano, Carl Tamayo, Dave Ildefonso, RJ Abarrientos, Kemark Carino, SJ Belangel, Lebron Lopez, Jason Credo, Geo Chiu, and prospective naturalized player Ange Kouame.
Gilas is preparing not just for the third window of qualifiers, but also for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade come July and the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup proper.