MEMBERS of the Gilas Pilipinas team that finished runner-up in last year’s FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship along with three new faces have been named as part of the 16-man pool that comprises the national team for the FIBA-World Cup in Spain and possibly, the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.
Coach Chot Reyes included in the pool the 12 players who suited up in the qualifier of the world basketball championship held here last August, namely, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Larry Fonacier, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, Ranidel Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Junemar Fajardo and naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
Beau Belga and Greg Slaughter, the last two players cut before the FIBA-Asia meet, were also named in the pool along with newcomers Marcio Lassiter, Jared Dillinger, and Paul Lee.
Andre Blatche of the Brooklyn Nets is the other naturalized player in the pool, although his stint in the national team remains pending as he awaits the approval of Congress with regards to his naturalization papers.
Slaughter and Lassiter however, remain doubtful as the two of them should have applied for a Filipino citizenship by the age of 16-years-old as required under the new FIBA rule.
Reyes however, remain positive the two will be allowed to suit up for the team if and when they make it to the final list.
“We have time to sort that out,” said Reyes about the status of both Lassiter and Slaughter, whom the national coach stressed already played for the Philippine team in the past as Lassiter was part of the Smart Gilas squad that saw action in the 2011 Fiba-Asia meet, while Slaughter was a member of the national team to the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
FIBA however, was quick to clarify its rule on citizenship, saying that `it’s no guarantee for a player being allowed to suit up again even if he already played for the national team before.”
“I would like to acknowledge the team owners and the PBA Board of Governors for allowing me to name the players in the pool. I would like to thank the PBA for its continued partnership to the national team effort,” Reyes said.
The team will have its first practice together on Monday evening at the Philsports Arena and continues to hold once-a-week training until such time the entire roster can hold regular practices.
Gilas Pilipinas booked a berth to the FIBA-World Cup following its silver medal finish in the Fiba-Asia tilt. This marked the first time in 40 years the country is seeing action in the world basketball stage.
Gilas Pilipinas bagged the silver medal and a spot in the FIBA World Cup where it will play in Seville for the Preliminary Rounds. This will be the first time after 40 years that the country will be playing in the world basketball stage.