GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes made some roster-tweaking for next week’s Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, inserting Globalport forward Jay Washington along with cadet players Kevin Alas and Garvo Lanete as well as Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee and Beau Belga.
Players not joining the China cage joust include Talk ’N Text guard Jason Castro, Larry Fonacier and Jimmy Alapag, San Mig Super Coffee forward Marc Pingris, along with Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan.
Except for Castro, Fonacier and Alapag, whose team lost a grueling five-game semifinal series to San Mig last week, Pingris, Chan and Norwood are all playing in the PBA Governor Cup Finals that kicked off on Tuesday.
Reyes said the adjusted roster for the Fiba Asia Cup gives the rest of the veteran members of the Gilas pool a chance to rest their battered bodies after playing through a tough schedule in the 39th PBA season.
But more important, the Gilas mentor said the China cage joust set from July 11 to 19 gives him an opportunity to see how Washington, Alas, Lanete, Lee and Belga adjust to international play.
“Yes, but also (to) rest them and keep them off the other’s radars,” Reyes’ told to Spin.ph on Tuesday when asked about the decision to test Washington and the other newcomers in international competition.
For Alas, the Fiba Asia Cup will be his first major international basketball tournament since helping steer the Gilas squad to the Super Keung Sheung Cup championship in Hong Kong in January 2013 as well as playing a key role in Sinag Pilipinas’ gold medal conquest of the Southeast Asian Games basketball in Myanmar late last year.
“Opo, first major international tournament ko ito (Fiba Asia Cup) kaya masaya saka siyempre yung makakalaban natin dun mas malalakas na kasi nagpe-prepare na sila for (Fiba) World Cup,” said Alas, who is joining the PBA Annual Draft this October.
Others in Reyes’ 12-man roster for the Fiba Asia Cup are Ranidel de Ocampo, Japeth Aguilar, Gary David, LA Tenorio, Jared Dillinger, June Mar Fajardo, and naturalized center Marcus Douthit.