NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao announced on Tuesday a tall, deep 20-man pool branded as the most talented ever for the coming Fiba Basketball World Cup window set November 30 against Kazakhstan and December 3 against Iran.
The pool is made up of Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, Alex Cabagnot, LA Tenorio, Matthew Wright, Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Arwind Santos, Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, June Mar Fajardo, Beau Belga, Poy Erram, Ian Sangalang and naturalized player Christian Standhardinger.
Gilas cadet members Ricci Rivero and Kai Sotto round up the pool from where the 12 players for each of the home qualifiers at the Mall of Asia Arena will be culled.
Naturalized player Andray Blatche, who has been playing for the national team since 2014, was noticeably not part of the national pool along with Terrence Romeo, another mainstay of the Gilas-era side of Chot Reyes.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio branded the current pool as the best assembled team for international competitions under their term.
“We are very happy to announce that both the SBP and the PBA support the proposal of coach Yeng Guiao. I think it will be maybe one of the best, if not, the best team that we would ever form to actually represent the Philippines in international competition,” said Panlilio.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said Guiao had all the players of the league at his disposal.
“I would like to thank the SBP for the unconditional support that they have given us,” said Guiao at the end of a PBA board meeting on Tuesday where the composition of the new pool was discussed.
Guiao said the team will start practicing next week under a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule before holding daily practices once the PBA suspends play for the Fiba World Cup qualifiers window.
Guiao has also scheduled scrimmages against Jordan on November 19 and 21, and Lebanon on November 23 and 25 at the Meralco Gym before the matches against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.