GILAS Pilipinas is set to begin practice cum tryouts in a few days, yet fans have the slightest idea on who will form the team that will fly the flag in the Fiba Asia championships in China.
So who's in and who's out?
From what we've gathered, majority of the players who will show up for the start of the Gilas tryouts on Wednesday at the Philsports Arena will be from the three teams owned by the group of Manny V. Pangilinan, who also happens to be the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Matt Ganuelas Rosser, Larry Fonacier, Clifford Hodge, Kelly Williams, Jared Dillinger and Gary David have been invited, while GlobalPort's Terrence Romeo, Alaska's Dondon Hontiveros and Sonny Thoss, and Rain or Shine's Beau Belga will be called for practice.
NLEX veteran Asi Taulava has yet to receive an invitation, sources said.
However, there are doubts if players on Baldwin's original wishlist will be showing up for the start of practice. In fact only a quarter of the players selected are certain of reporting for national duty.
As it is, two standouts from the last Gilas team that placed second to Iran in the 2013 Fiba-Asia championships in Manila, June Mar Fajardo and Marc Pingris, are listed as doubtful owing to various reasons.
Fajardo is nursing plantas fasciitis injuries on both feet after a gruelling PBA season he capped with a championship with San Miguel in the Governors Cup while Pingris told Spin.ph on Sunday he had booked a trip for his family to France before he got an invitation from Baldwin on Saturday.
Pingris told Spin.ph he was given the green light by San Miguel Corp. bosses to rejoin Gilas but can only attend practice when he returns from France on August 12, leaving his fate in the hands of Gilas coaches.
Sources said Baldwin finally had the chance to sit down with SMC head of basketball operations Robert Non and sports director Alfrancis Chua on Friday, completing the consultation process he had with PBA team officials.
It is not known what came out of the meeting but sources said LA Tenorio of Ginebra and Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel, along with Pingris, are the only players from the SMC group with permission to join Gilas.
From Alaska, sources have confirmed that Hontiveros has received an invitation for the practices while Calvin Abueva has yet to get a call-up. Spin.ph has previously reported that coach Alex Compton is being eyed to join Baldwin's coaching staff at Gilas.
On the other hand, either Belga or Gabe Norwood may likely be available from Rain or Shine but Paul Lee is still in the US and there is no word from Rain or Shine management on when he will be back - or on whether he will be able to rejoin Gilas in the China event as the Asian qualifier for the 2016 Olympics.
The situation should become clearer on Monday when Pangilinan meets with his basketball people to discuss not just the Gilas program but also the direction to be taken by the teams under the PLDT umbrella for next season.