By Waylon Galvez
As coach Yeng Guiao named his 12-man roster that will carry the fight for the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup in China, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio thanked the entire national team – from coaches to players – that served in the Gilas Pilipinas program.
The national team earned a spot to the World Cup for the second straight time by going through the Asian qualifiers for almost two years, involving 35 players under two coaches.
“They would not have gotten this opportunity if it were not for the sacrifices of all the players, coaches, and staff that helped along the way throughout the FIBA Asian Qualifiers,” said Panlilio.
“These are the 12 gallant men who will fight for flag and country in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.”
The players named by Coach Yeng Guiao are Paul Lee, Kiefer Ravena, June Mar Fajardo, Raymond Almazan, Marc Barroca, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, CJ Perez, Robert Bolick and naturalized player Andray Blatche.
Of the 12, both Bolick and Perez are PBA rookies and were late additions to the training pool. But they were impressive in Spain which was used as basis for their inclusion.
Ravena, on the other hand, had a solid performance in the exhibition game against Australia’s Adelaide 36ers here, and has done a good job even in practice sessions during the latter part of his FIBA suspension.
Aside from Guiao, the national team also had coach Chot Reyes as mentor. But he stepped down after the infamous brawl against Australia in the Asian qualifier in Bocaue, Bulacan last year.
Others who served the interest of the national team are PBA players Calvin Abueva, Kevin Alas, Baser Amer, Beau Belga, Alex Cabagnot, Jayson Castro, Carl Bryan Cruz, Poy Erram, Jio Jlalon, Marcio Lassiter, Allein Maliksi, Stanley Pringle, Terrence Romeo, Christian Standhardinger, Ian Sangalang, Arwind Santos, Greg Slaughter, Asi Taulava, Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio, Abu Tratter, Mattew Wright and Thirdy Ravena.
For Panlilio, win or lose, he is confident that the 12 selected players will represent the Philippines well.
“This is your Gilas Pilipinas and they’ll do their best to represent the 100 million Filipinos and promote the Philippine brand of basketball on the world stage,” he said.