Twenty players answer call as Tab Baldwin begin tryouts for SEA Games-bound national team
National coach Tab Baldwin expects to make the initial cut at the end of the week, according to team manager Butch Antonio. Jerome Ascano

IN his first official function as coach of the national basketball team, Tab Baldwin conducted the first in a series of tryouts to determine the composition of the Sinag Pilipinas side bound for two major international tournaments this year, including the Southeast Asian Games.

Twenty of the 25 players invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) through team manager Butch Antonio, showed up for the start of tryouts held at the Philsports Arena Monday night.

Only San Beda players Baser Amer and Art Dela Cruz failed to show up due to school examinations.

“But we’re expecting a complete attendance when we resume the tryouts (on Tuesday),” said Antonio shortly after the 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. practice supervised by Baldwin.

"It was very positive," said Baldwin of the first of the four-day tryouts. "There was a lot of talent that walked into the gym, althiugh it was a lot of intrroductory formation."

Among the prominent ones who attended were reigning UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena, D-League Aspirants Cup MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Garvo Lanete, Jeron Teng, Arnold Van Opstal, Troy Rosario, Thomas Torres, Prince Rivero, among others.

Antonio said Baldwin, who’s also head coach of Gilas Pilipinas, expects to trim the lineup also within the week.

The PH team manager said a pool of 16 players will be named by the end of the week, and from the 16 will be culled the final 12 as the Seaba tournament comes closer.

The Sinag team is set to compete in the SEA Games this June in Singapore and the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) championship this April.

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