EIGHT PBA stars led by six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and reigning MVP Scottie Thompson are among the players both based locally and overseas who are being eyed to compose a new-look Gilas Pilipinas pool, sources bared.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is in the process of putting together a pool in the run-up to the Fiba World Cup after being assured of the availability of players from the PBA and top college leagues in a meeting among basketball stakeholders on Monday.
Sources said Reyes is looking to put together a 20-man pool that will be built around NBA player Jordan Clarkson, who is committed to play for Gilas in the fourth window of the qualifiers in August and the World Cup itself next year.
Clarkson's status under Fiba's eligibility rules will influence the rest of the pool, sources said, although Reyes and his staff have this early identified the players who they hope to be part of the Gilas pool from the August window all the way to the World Cup.
That pool includes PBA players who will be made available for Gilas' buildup for the Fiba World Cup from late April, which is the end of the league's 2022-23 season.
Aside from Fajardo and Thompson, also in the Gilas wish list are Thompson's Barangay Ginebra teammate Japeth Aguilar, SMB's CJ Perez, NLEX's Calvin Oftana, NorthPort's Jamie Malonzo, Meralco's Chris Newsome and TNT's Troy Rosario.
Another PBA player, RR Pogoy, may likely be tapped in the event Gilas goes for a big man as naturalized player instead of Clarkson.
The list, sources said, is by no means final since commitments from the players still have to be secured, although that task should be easier after San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua came on board as Gilas executive advisor.
The rest of the pool, sources said, will be filled up by players based overseas like Kai Sotto, Japan B.League imports Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena, Roosevelt Adams, and Dwight Ramos, and college stars Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao.
Newsome, Malonzo, and Adams have recently been cleared by Fiba to be eligible to play for the Philippines as locals.
Some of these players will be tapped as early as the qualifiers against Lebanon on August 25 and against Saudi Arabia on Aug. 28, after the PBA committed players from the 10 teams which will not make the Philippine Cup Finals.
This early, among the PBA players that Reyes can tap for the August window are Thompson, Aguilar, Malonzo, and Oftana.
Reyes, who is also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director, said he will sit down with his staff including Tim Cone and Jong Uichico on Saturday to finalize the lineup for the August qualifiers.
Clarkson will be arriving on Aug. 18 to join the Gilas buildup, which Reyes plans to start on Aug. 15.
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